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Full text of "Poems of the war"

S. G. and E. L. ELBERT 










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ELLA SMITH ELBERT '88 
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BY THE SAME AUTHOR. 



JE> OEMS. 

2 vols. 16mo. $2.00. 



TICKWOR AND FIELDS, Publishers. 



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OEMS OF THE 



War 



BY 



GEORGE H. BOKER 




BOSTON: 
TICKNOR AND FIELDS. 
1864. 






Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, by 

GEORGE H. BOKER, 

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts. 



University Press: 

Welch, Bigelow, and Company, 

Cambridge. 



CONTENTS 



Page 

Invocation 7 

POEMS OF THE WAR. 

The Ride to Camp 13 

Upon the Hill before Centreville .... 30 

Zagonyi 48 

On Board the Cumberland 51 

The Sword-Bearer 61 

The Ballad of New Orleans 66 

The Varuna 80 

The Crossing at Fredericksburg 82 

Hooker 's Across ! 88 

Eric, the Minstrel . . . . . . .90 

The Black Regiment 99 

Before Vicksburg 104 

The Battle of Lookout Mountain .... 107 

In the Wilderness 116 

Ode to America 120 

Oremus 129 

Ad Poetas . 133 

The Flag . 136 






vi CONTENTS. 

Dragoon's Song 138 

Lancer's Song ........ 140 

Cavalry Song 142 

March along 144 

The Free Flag 147 

Song for the Loyal National League ... 150 

A Battle Hymn 153 

Hymn for the Fourth of July, 1863 ... 156 
Sonnets. 

" Blood, Blood ! " 160 

"Oh! craven, craven!" 162 

"Brave comrade, answer!" ..... 164 

Grant 166 

Dirge for a Soldier . . . . . . .168 

MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

Prince Adeb 173 

Abon's Charity 186 

Idleness • . .191 

Winter Winds 194 

Elisha Kent Kane .196 

Dirge .......... 200 



INVOCATION. 

O COUNTRY, bleeding from the hqprt, 
If these poor songs can touch thy woe, 
And draw thee but awhile apart 
From sorrow's bitter overflow, 
Then not in vain 
This feeble strain 
About the common air shall blow. 

As David stood by prostrate Saul, 

So wait I at thy sacred feet : 
I reverently raise thy pall, 
To see thy mighty bosom beat. 
I would not wrong 
Thy grief with song ; 
I would but utter what is meet. 



8 INVOCATION. 

Arise, giant ! Lo, the day 

Flows hither from the gates of light. 
The dreams, that struck thee with dismay, 
Were shadows of distempered night. 
'T is just to mourn 
What thou hast borne ; 
But yet the future has its right. 

A glory, greater than the lot 

Foretold by prophets, is to be ; 
A fame without the odious blot . 
Upon thy title to be free, — 
The jeer of foes, 
The woe of woes, 
God's curse and sorrow over thee. 

Above the nations of the earth 
Erect thee, prouder than before ! 

Consider well the trial's worth, 
And let the passing tempest roar ! 



INVOCATION. 9 

It spends its shock 
Upon a rock : 
Thou shalt outlive a thousand more. 

Through tears and blood I saw a gleam, 
Through all the battle-smoke it shone ; 
A voice I heard that drowned the scream 
Of widows and the orphans' moan : 
An awful voice 
That cried, " Rejoice ! " 
A light outbreaking from God's throne. 



i* 



POEMS OF THE WAR. 






THE RIDE TO CAMP. 



WHEN all the leaves were red or brown, 
Or golden as the summer sun, 

And now and then came flickering down 
Upon the grasses hoar and dun, 

Through which the first faint breath of frost 

Had as a scorching vapor run ; 
I rode, in solemn fancies lost, 

To join my troop, whose low tents shone 

Far vanward to our camping host. 
Thus as I slowly journeyed on, 

I was made suddenly aware 

That I no longer rode alone. 



14 TEE RIDE TO CAMP. 

Whence came that strange, incongruous pair ? 
Whether to make their presence plain 
To mortal eyes, from earth or air 

The essence of these spirits twain 

Had clad itself in human guise, 

» 

As in a robe, is question vain. 

I hardly dared to turn my eyes, 

So faint my heart beat ; and my blood, 
Checked and bewildered with surprise, 

Within its aching channels stood, 

And all the soldier in my heart t . 

Scarce mustered common hardihood. 

But as I paused, with lips apart, « 

Strong shame, as with a sturdy arm, 
Shook me, and made my spirit start, 

And all my stagnant life grew warm ; 
Till with my new-found courage wild, 
Out of my mouth there burst a storm 

Of song, as if I thus beguiled 
My way with careless melody : 
Whereat the silent figures smiled. 



THE RIDE TO CAMP. 15 

Then from a haughty, asking eye 

I scanned the uninvited pair, 

And waited sternly for reply. 
One shape was more than mortal fair ; 

He seemed embodied out of light ; 

The sunbeams rippled through his hair ; 
His cheeks were of the color bright 

That dyes young evening, and his eyes 

Glowed like twin planets, that to sight 
Increase in lustre and in size, 

The more intent and long our gaze. 

Pull on the future's pain and prize, 
Half seen through hanging cloud and haze, 

His steady, far and yearning look 

Blazed forth beneath his crown of bays. 
His radiant vesture, as it shook, 

Dripped with great drops of golden dew ; 

And at each step his white steed took, 
The sparks beneath his hoof-prints flew ; 

As if a half-cooled lava flood 

He trod, each firm step breaking through. 



16 THE RIDE TO CAMP. 

This figure seemed so wholly good, 
That as a moth which reels in light, 
Unknown till then, nor understood, 

My dazzled soul swam ; and I might 
Have swooned, and in that presence died, 
From the mere splendor of the sight, 

Had not his lips, serene with pride 

o 

And cold, cruel purpose, made me swerve 

Prom aught their fierce curl might deride. 
A clarion of a single curve 

Hung at his side by slender bands ; 

And when he blew, with faintest nerve, 
Life burst throughout those lonely lands ; 

Graves yawned to hear, Time stood aghast, 

The whole world rose and clapped its hands, 
Then on the other shape I cast 

My eyes. I know not how or why 

He held my spell-bound vision fast. 
Instinctive terror bade me fly, 

But curious wonder checked my will. 

The mysteries of his awful eye, 



THE RIDE TO CAMP. 17 

So dull, so deep, so dark, so chill, 

And the calm pity of his brow 

And massive features hard and still, 
Lovely but threatening, an£ the bow 

Of his sad neck, as if he told 

Earth's graves and sorrows as they grow, 
Cast me in musings manifold 

Before his pale, unanswering face. 

A thousand winters might have rolled 
Above his head. I saw no trace 

Of youth or age, of time^ or change, 

Upon his fixed immortal grace. 
A smell of new-turned mould, a strange, 

Dank, earthen odor from him blew, 

Cold as the icy winds that range 
The moving hills which sailors view 

Floating around the Northern Pole, 

With horrors to the shivering crew. 
His garments, black as min6d coal, 

Cast midnight shadows on his way ; 

And as his black steed softly stole, 



18 THE RIDE TO CAMP. 

Cat-like and stealthy, jocund day 
Died out before him, and the grass, 
Then sere and tawny, turned to gray. 

The hardy flowers #iat will not pass 
For the shrewd autumn's chilling rain, 
Closed their bright eyelids, and, alas ! 

No summer opened them again. 

The strong trees shuddered at his touch, 
And shook their foliage to the plain. 

A sheaf of darts was in his clutch ; 
And wheresoever he turned the head 
Of any dart, its power was such 

That nature quailed with mortal dread, 
And crippling pain and foul disease 
For sorrowing leagues around him spread, 

Whene'er he cast o'er lands and seas 
That fatal shaft, there rose a groan ; 
And borne along on every breeze 

Came up the church-bell's solemn tone, 
And cries that swept o'er open graves, 
And equal sobs from cot and throne. 



THE RIDE TO CAMP. 19 

Against the winds she tasks and braves, 
The tall ship paused, the sailors sighed, 
And something white slid in the waves. 

One lamentation, far and wide, 
Followed behind that flying dart. 
Things soulless and immortal died, 

As if they filled the self-same part ; 
The flower, the girl, the oak, the man, 
Made the same dust from pith or heart. 

Then spoke I, calmly as one can 

Who with his purpose curbs his fear, 
And thus to both my question ran. 

" What two are ye who cross me here, 
Upon these desolated lands, 
Whose open fields lie waste and drear 

Beneath the tramplings of the bands 
Which two great armies send abroad, 
With swords and torches in their hands ? " 

To which the bright one, as a god 
Who slowly speaks the words of fate, 
Towards his dark comrade gave a nod, 



20 THE RIDE TO CAMP. 

And answered : " I anticipate 

The thought that is your own reply. 
You know him ; or the fear and hate 

Upon your pallid features lie. 
Therefore I need not call him Death : 
But answer, soldier, who am I ? " 

Thereat, with all his gathered breath, 
He blew his clarion ; and there came, ' 
From life above and life beneath, 

Pale forms of vapor and of flame, 
Dim likenesses of men who rose 
Above their fellows by a name. 

There curved the Roman's eagle nose, 
The Greek's fair brows, the Persian's beard, 
The Punic plume, the Norman bows ; 

There the Crusader's lance was reared ; 
And there, in formal coat and vest, 
Stood modern chiefs ; and one appeared, 

Whose arms were folded on his breast, 
And his round forehead bowed in thought, 
Who shone supreme above the rest. 



THE RIDE TO CAMP. 21 

Again the bright one quickly caught 

His words up, as the martial line 

Before my eyes dissolved to naught : 
u Soldier, these heroes all are mine ; 

And I am Glory ! " As a tomb 

That groans on opening, " Say, were thine," 
Cried the dark figure. " I consume 

Thee and thy splendors utterly. 

More names have faded in my gloom 
Than chronicles or poesy 

Have kept alive for babbling earth 

To boast of in despite of me." 
The other cried, in scornful mirth, 

" Of all that was or is thou curse, 

Thou dost o'errate thy frightful worth ! 
Between the cradle and the hearse, 

What one of mine has lived unknown, 

Whether through triumph or reverse ? 
For them the regal jewels shone, 

For them the battled line was spread ; 

Victorious or overthrown, 



22 THE RIDE TO CAMP. 

My splendor on their path was shed. 
They lived their life, they ruled their day : 
I hold no commerce with the dead. 

Mistake me not, and falsely say, 
' Lo, this is slow, laborious Fame, 
Who cares for what has passed away : ' — 

My twin-born brother, meek and tame, 
Who troops along with crippled Time, 
And shrinks at every cry of shame, 

And halts at every stain and crime ; 

While I, through tears and blood and guilt, 
Stride on, remorseless and sublime. 

War with his offspring as thou wilt ; 
Lay thy cold lips against their cheek. 
The poison or the dagger-hilt 

Is what my desperate children seek. 
Their dust is rubbish on the hills ; 
Beyond the grave they would not speak. 

Shall man surround his days with ills, 
And live as if his only care 
Were how to die, while full life thrills 



THE RIDE TO CAMP. 23 

His bounding blood ? To plan and dare, 

To use life is life's proper end : 

Let death come when it will, and where ! " 
" You prattle on, as babes that spend 

Their morning half within the brink 

Of the bright heaven from which they wend ; 
But what I am, you dare not think. 

Thick, brooding shadow round me lies ; 

You stare till terror makes you wink ; 
I go not, though you ^ftut your eyes. 

Unclose again the loathful lid, 

And lo, I sit beneath the skies, 
As Sphinx beside the pyramid ! " 

So Death, with solemn rise and fall 

Of voice, his sombre mind undid. 
He paused ; resuming : "lam all ; 

I am the refuge and the rest ; 

The heart aches not beneath my pall. 
soldier, thou art young, unpressed 

By snarling griefs increasing swarm ; 

While joy is dancing in thy breast, 



24 THE RIDE TO CAMP. 

Fly from the future's fated harm ; 

Rush where the fronts of battle meet, 

And let me take thee on my arm ! " 
Said Glory, " Warrior, fear deceit 

Where Death gives counsel. Run thy race ; 

Bring the world cringing to thy feet ! 
Surely no better time nor place 

Than this, where all the Nation calls 

For help ; and weakness and disgrace 
Lag in her tents and council-halls ; 

And down on aching heart and brain 

Blow after blow unbroken falls. 
Her strength flows out through every vein ; 

Mere time consumes her to the core ; 

Her stubborn pride becomes her bane. 
In vain she names her children o'er ; 

They fail her in her hour of need ; 

She mourns at desperation's door. 
Be thine the hand to do the deed, 

To seize the sword, to mount the throne, 

And wear the purple as thy meed ! 



THE RIDE TO CAMP. 25 

No heart shall grudge it } not a groan 
Shall shame thee. Ponder what it were 
To save a land thus twice thy own ! " 

Use gave a more familiar air 
To my companions ; and I spoke 
My heart out to the ethereal pair. 

" When in her wrath the nation broke 
Her easy rest of love and peace, 
I was the latest who awoke. 

I sighed at passion's mad increase. 
I strained the traitors to my heart 
I said, ' We vex them ; let us cease.' 

I would not play the common part. 
Tamely I heard the Southerns' brag : 
I said, ' Their wrongs have made them smart.' 

At length they struck our ancient flag, — 
Their flag as ours, the traitors damned ! — 
And braved it with their patchwork rag. 

I rose when other men had calmed 
Their anger in the marching throng ; 
I rose, as might a corpse embalmed, 



26 THE RIDE TO CAMP. 

Who hears God's mandate, ' Eight my wrong ! ' 

I rose and set me to his deed, 

With his great Spirit fixed and strong. 
I swear that when I drew this sword, 

And joined the ranks, and sought the strife, 

I drew it in thy name, Lord ! 
I drew against my brother's life, 

Even as Abraham on his child 

Drew slowly forth his priestly knife. 
No thought of selfish ends defiled 

The holy fire that burned in me ; 

No gnawing care was thus beguiled. 
My children clustered at my knee ; 

Upon my braided soldier's coat 

My wife looked — ah, so wearily ! — 
It made her tender blue eyes float. 

And when my wheeling rowels rang, 

Or on the floor my sabre smote, 
The sound went through her like a pang. 

I saw this ; and the days to come 

Forewarned me with an iron clang, 



THE RIDE TO CAMP. 27 

That drowned the musie of the drum, 

That made the rousing bugle faint, 

And yet I sternly left my home. 
Haply to fall by noisome taint 

Of foul disease, without a deed 

To sound in rhyme, or shine in paint ; 
But oh, at least, to drop a seed, 

Humble but faithful to the last, 

Sown by my Country in her need ! 
Death, come to me, slow or fast ; 

I '11 do my duty while I may. 

Though sorrow burdens every blast, 
And want and hardship on me lay 

Their bony gripes, my life is pledged, 

And to my country given away ! 
Nor feel I any hope, new-fledged, 

Arise, strong Glory, at thy voice. 

Our sword the people's will has edged, 
Our rule stands on the people's choice. 

This land would mourn beneath a crown, 

Where born slaves only could rejoice. 



28 THE RIDE TO CAMP. 

How should the Nation keep it down ? 

What would a despot's fortunes be, 

After his days of strength had flown, 
Amidst this people, proud and free, 

Whose history from such sources run ? 

The thought is its own mockery. 
I pity the audacious one 

Who may ascend that thorny throne, 

And bide a single setting sun. 
Day dies ; my shadow's length has grown ; 

The sun is sliding down the West. 

That trumpet in my camp was blown. 
From yonder high and wooded crest 

I shall behold my squadron's, camp, 

Prepared to sleep its guarded rest 
In the low, misty, poisoned damp 

That wears the strength, and saps the heart, 

And drains the surgeon's watching lamp. 
Hence, phantoms ! in God's peace depart ! 

I was not fashioned for your will : 

I scorn thy trump, and brave thy dart ! " 



THE RIDE TO CAMP. 29 

They grinned defiance, lingering still. 
" I charge ye quit me, in His name 
Who bore his cross against the hill ! — 

By Him who dted a death of shame, 
That I might live, and ye might die, — 
By Christ the martyr ! " As a flame 

Leaps sideways when the wind is high, 
The bright one bounded from my side, 
At that dread name, without reply. 

And Death drew in his mantle wide, 
And shuddered, and grew ghastly pale, 
As if his dart had pricked his side. 

There came a breath, a lonely wail, 
Out of the silence o'er the land ; 
Whether from souls of bliss or bale, 

What mortal brain may understand ? 
Only I marked the phantoms went 
Closely together, hand in hand, 

As if upon one errand bent. 



UPON THE HILL BEFORE 
CENTREVILLE. 

July 21, 1861. 

I'LL tell you what I heard that day : 
I heard the great guns far away, 
Boom after boom. Their sullen sound 
Shook all the shuddering air around, 
And shook, ah me ! my shrinking ear, 
And downward shook the hanging tear 
That, in despite of manhood's pride, 
Rolled o'er my face a scalding tide. 
And then I prayed. God ! I prayed 
As never stricken saint, who laid 
His hot cheek to the holy tomb 
Of Jesus, in the midnight gloom. 



BEFORE CENTREVILLE. 31 

" What saw I ? " Little. Clouds of dust ; 
Great files of men, with standards thrust 
Against their course ; dense columns crowned 
With billowing steel. Then, bound on bound, 
The long black lines of cannon poured 
Behind the horses, streaked and gored 
With sweaty speed. Anon shot by, 
Like a lone meteor of the sky, 
A single horseman ; and he shone 
His bright face on me, and was gone. 
All these, with rolling drums, with cheers, 
With songs familiar to my ears, 
Passed under the far hanging cloud, 
And vanished ; and my heart was proud ! 

For mile on mile the line of war 
Extended ; and a steady roar, 
As of some distant stormy sea, 
On the south wind came up to me. 
And high in air, and over all, 



32 UPON THE HILL 

Grew, like a fog, that murky pall, 
Beneath whose gloom of dusty smoke 
The cannon flamed, the bomb-shell broke, 
And the sharp rattling volley rang, 
And shrapnel roared, and bullets sang, 
And fierce-eyed men, with panting breath, 
Toiled onward at the work of death. 

But when the sun had passed his stand 
At noon, behold ! on every hand 
The dark brown vapor backward bore, 
And fainter came the dreadful roar 
From the huge sea of striving men. 
Thus spoke my rising spirit then : 
" Take comfort from that dying sound, 
Paint heart, the foe is giving ground ! " 
And one, who taxed his horse's powers, 
Flung at me, " Ho ! the day is ours ! " 
And scoured along. So swift his pace, 
I took no memory of his face. 



BEFORE CENTEEVILLE. 33 

Then turned I once again to Heaven ; 
. All things appeared so just and even ; 
So clearly from the highest Cause 
Traced I the downward-working laws, — 
Those moral springs made evident 
In the grand, triumph-crowned event. 
So half I shouted and half sang, 
Like Jephtha's daughter, to the clang 
Of my spread, cymbal-striking palms, 
Some fragments of thanksgiving psalms. 

Meanwhile a solemn stillness fell 
Upon the land. O'er hill and dell 
Failed every sound. My heart stood still, 
Waiting before some coming ill. 
The silence was more sad and dread, 
Under that canopy of lead, 
Than the wild tumult of the war 
That raged a little while before. 
All nature in the work of death 

2* o 



34 UPON THE HILL 

Paused for one last, despairing breath ; 

And cowering to the earth, I drew 

Prom her strong breast my strength anew. 

When I arose, I wondering saw 

Another dusty vapor draw, 

Prom the far right, its sluggish way 

Towards the main cloud, that frowning lay 

Against the westward sloping sun ; 

And al! the war was re-begun, 

Ere this fresh marvel of my sense 

Caught from my mind significance. 

And then — why ask me ? Oh ! my God ! 

Would I had lain beneath the sod, 

A patient clod, for many a day, 

And from my bones and mouldering clay 

The rank field-grass and flowers had sprung, 

Ere the base sight, that struck and stung 

My very soul, confronted me, 

Shamed at my own humanity. 



BEFORE CENTREVILLE. 35 

happy dead, who early fell, 
Ye have no wretched tale to tell 
Of causeless fear and coward flight, 
Of victory snatched beneath your sight, 
Of martial strength and honor lost, 
Of mere life bought at any cost, 
Of the deep, lingering mark of shame 
Forever scorched on brow and name, 
That no new deeds, however bright, 
Shall banish from men's loathful sight ! 
Ye perished in your conscious pride, 
Ere this vile scandal opened wide 
A wound that cannot close nor heal ; 
Ye perished steel to levelled steel, 
Stern votaries of the god of war, 
Filled with his godhead to the core ! 
Ye died to live ; these lived to die 
Beneath the scorn of every eye ! 
How eloquent your voices sound 
From the low chambers under ground ! 



36 UPON THE HILL 

How clear each separate title burns 
From your high-set and laurelled urns ! 
While these, who walk about the earth, 
Are blushing at their very birth ; 
And though they talk, and go and come. 
Their moving lips are worse than dumb. 
Ye sleep beneath the valley's dew, 
And all the nation mourns for you. 
So sleep, till God shall wake the lands ! 
For angels, armed with fiery brands, 
Await to take you by the hands. 

The right-hand vapor broader grew ; 

It rose, and joined itself unto 

The main cloud with a sudden dash. 

Loud and more near the cannon's crash 

Came towards me, and I heard a sound 

As if all hell had broken bound, — 

A cry of agony and fear. 

Still the dark vapor rolled more near, 



BEFORE CENTREVILLE. 37 

Till at my very feet it tost 

The van ward fragments of our host. 

Can man, Thy image, sink so low, 

Thou who hast bent thy tinted bow 

Across the storm aind raging main, — 

Whose laws both loosen and restrain 

The powers of earth, — without whose will 

No sparrow's little life is still ? 

Was fear of hell, or want of faith, 

Or the brute's common dread of death, 

The passion that began a chase 

Whose goal was ruin and disgrace ? 

What tongue the fearful sight may tell ? 

What horrid nightmare ever fell 

Upon the restless sleep of crime, 

What history of another time, 

What dismal vision, darkly seen 

By the stern-featured Florentine, 

Can give a hint to dimly draw 

The likeness of the scene I saw ? 



38 UPON THE HILL 

I saw, yet saw not. In that sea, 
That chaos of humanity, 
No more the eye could catch and keep 
A single point, than on the deep 
The eye may mark a single wave 
Where hurrying myriads leap and rave. 
Men of all arms and all costumes, 
Bare-headed, decked with broken plumes 
Soldiers and officers, and those 
Who wore but civil-suited clothes ; 
On foot or mounted, — some bestrode 
Steeds severed from their harnessed load ; 
Wild mobs of white-topped wagons, cars 
Of wounded, red with bleeding scars ; 
The whole grim panoply of war 
Surged on me with a deafening roar ! 
All shades of fear, disfiguring man, 
Glared through their faces' brazen tan. 
Not one a moment paused, or stood 
To see what enemy pursued. 



BEFORE CENTREVILLE. 39 

With shrieks of fear, and yells of pain, 

With every muscle on the strain, 

Onward the struggling masses bore. 

0, had the foemen lain before, 

They 'd trampled them to dusty gore, 

And swept their lines and batteries 

As autumn sweeps the windy trees ! 

Here one cast forth his wounded friend, 

And with his sword or musket end 

Urged on, the horses ; there one trod 

Upon the likeness of his God 

As if 't were dust ; a coward here 

Grew valiant with his very fear, 

And struck his weaker comrade prone, 

And struggled to the front alone. 

All had one purpose, one sole aim, 

That mocked the decency of shame, 

To fly, by any means to fly ; 

They cared not how, they asked not why. 



40 UPON THE HILL 

I found a voice. My burning blood 
Flamed up. Upon a mound I stood ; 
I could no more restrain my voice 
, Than could the prophet of God's choice. 
" Back, howling fugitives," I cried, 
" Back, on your wretched lives, and hide 
Your shame beneath your native clay ! 
Or if the foe affrights you, slay 
Your baser selves ; and, dying, leave 
Your children's tearful cheeks to grieve, 
Not quail and blush, when you shall come, 
Alive, to their degraded home ! 
Your wives will look askance with scorn ; 
Your boys, and infants yet unborn, 
Will curse you to God's holy face ! 
Heaven holds no pardon in its grace * 
For cowards. 0, are such as ye 
The guardians of our liberty ? 
Back, if one trace of manhood still 
May nerve your arm and brace your will ! 



BEFORE CENTREVILLE. 41 

You stain your country in the eyes 

Of Europe and her monarchies ! 

The despots laugh, the peoples groan, 

Man's cause is lost and overthrown ! 

I curse you, by the sacred blood 

That freely poured its purple flood 

Down Bunker's heights, on Monmouth's 

plain, 
From Georgia to the rocks of Maine ! 
I curse you, by the patriot band 
Whose bones are crumbling in the land ! 
By those who saved what these had won ! — 
In the high name of Washington ! " 

Then I remember little more. 

As the tide's rising waves, that pour 

Over some low and rounded rock, 

The coming mass, with one great shock, 

Flowed o'er the shelter of my mound, 

And raised me helpless from the ground. 



42 UPON THE HILL 

As the huge shouldering billows bear, 
Half in the sea and half in air, 
A swimmer on their foaming crest, 
So the foul throng beneath me pressed, 
Swept me along with curse and blow, 
And flung me — where, I ne'er shall 
know. 

When I awoke, a steady rain 
Made rivulets across the plain ; 
And it was dark, — 0, very dark ! 
I was so stunned as scarce to mark 
The ghostly figures of the trees, 
Or hear the sobbing of the breeze 
That flung the wet leaves to and fro. 
Upon me lay a dismal woe, 
A boundless, superhuman grief, 
That drew no promise of relief 
From any hope. Then I arose, 
As one who struggles up from blows 



BEFORE CENTREVILLE. 43 

By unseen hands ; and as I stood 
Alone, I thought that God was good, 
To hide, in clouds and driving rain, 
Our low world from the angel train 
Whose souls filled heroes when the earth 
Was worthy of their noble birth. 
By that dull instinct of the mind 
Which leads aright the helpless blind, 
I struggled onward, till the dawn 
Across the eastern clouds had drawn 
A narrow line of watery gray ; 
And full before my vision lay 
The great dome's gaunt and naked bones, 
Beneath whose crown the nation thrones 
Her queenly person. On I stole, 
With hanging head and abject soul, 
Across the high embattled ridge, 
And o'er the arches of the bridge. 
So freshly pricked my sharp disgrace, 
I feared to meet the human face. 



44 UPON THE HILL 

Skulking, as any woman might 
Who 'd lost her virtue in the night, 
And sees the dreadful glare of day- 
Prepared to light her homeward way, 
Alone, heart-broken, shamed, undone, 
I staggered into Washington ! 

Since then long sluggish days have passed. 

And on the wings of every blast 

Have come the distant nations' sneers 

To tingle in Our blushing ears. 

In woe and ashes, as was meet, 

We wore the penitential sheet. 

But now I breathe a purer air, 

And from the depths of my despair 

Awaken to a cheering morn, 

Just breaking through the night forlorn, 

A morn of hopeful victory. 

Awake, my countrymen, with me ! 

Redeem the honor which you lost, 

With any blood, at any cost ! 



BEFORE CENTREVILLE. 45 

I ask not how the war began, 

Nor how the quarrel branched and ran 

To this dread height. The wrong or right 

Stands clear before God's faultless sight. 

I only feel the shameful blow, 

I only see the scornful foe, 

And vengeance burns in every vein 

To die, or wipe away the stain. 

The war-wise hero of the West, 

Wearing his glories as a crest 

Of trophies gathered in your sight, 

Is arming for the coming fight. 

Full well his wisdom apprehends 

The duty and its mighty ends ; 

The great occasion of the hour, 

That never lay in human power 

Since over Yorktown's tented plain 

The red cross fell, nor rose again. 

My humble pledge of faith I lay, 

Dear comrade of my school-boy day, 



46 UPON THE HILL 

Before thee, in the nation's view ; 

And if thy prophet prove untrue, 

And from our country's grasp be thrown 

The sceptre and the starry crown, 

And thou and all thy marshalled host 

Be baffled, and in ruin lost, — 

0, let me not outlive the blow 

That seals my country's overthrow ! 

And, lest this woful end come true, 

Men of the North, I turn to you. 

Display your vaunted flag once more, 

Southward your eager columns pour ! 

Sound trump and fife and rallying drum ; 

Prom every hill and valley come ! 

Old men, yield up your treasured gold ; 

Can liberty be priced and sold ? 

Pair matrons, maids, and tender brides, 

Gird weapons to your lovers' sides ; 

And, though your hearts break at the deed, 

Give them your blessing and God-speed ; 



BEFORE OENTREVILLE. 47 

Then point them to the field of fame, 
With words like those of Sparta's dame ! 
And when the ranks are full and strong, 
And the whole army moves along, 
A vast result of care and skill, 
Obedient to the master will ; 
And your young hero draws the sword, 
And gives the last commanding word 
That hurls your strength upon the foe, — 
0, let them need no second blow ! 
Strike, as your fathers struck of old, 
Through summer's heat and winter's cold ; 
Through pain, disaster, and defeat ; 
Through marches tracked with bloody feet ; 
Through every ill that could befall 
The holy cause that bound them all ! 
Strike as they struck for liberty ! 
Strike as they struck to make you free ! 
Strike for the crown of victory ! 



ZAGONYI. 

Springfield, October 25, 1861. 

BOLD Captain of the Body-Guard, 
1 11 troll a stave to thee ! 
My voice is somewhat harsh and hard, 

And rough my minstrelsy. 
I 've cheered until my throat is sore 
For how Dupont at Beaufort bore ; 
Yet here 's a cheer for thee^ 

I hear thy jingling spurs and reins, 

Thy sabre at thy knee ; 
The blood runs lighter through my veins, 

As I before me see 



ZAGONYL 49 

Thy hundred men with thrusts and blows 
Ride down a thousand stubborn foes, 
The foremost led by thee. 

With pistol snap and rifle crack — 
Mere salvos fired to honor thee — 

Ye plunge, and stamp, and shoot, and hack 
The way your swords make free ; 

Then back again, — the path is wide 

This time, — ye gods ! it was a ride, 
The ride they took with thee ! 

No guardsman of the whole command 

Halts, quails, or turns to flee ; 
With bloody spur and steady hand 

They gallop where they see 
Thy daring plume stream out ahead 
O'er flying, wounded, dying, dead ; 

They can but follow thee. 






50 ZAGONYL 

So, Captain of the Body-Guard, 

I pledge a health to thee ! 
I hope to see thy shoulders starred, 

My Paladin ; and we 
Shall laugh at fortune in the fray, 
Whene'er you lead your well-known way 

To death or victory ! 



ON BOARD THE CUMBERLAND. 
March 8, 1862. 



a o TAND to your guns, men ! " Morris cried. 
kj Small need to pass the word ; 
Our men at quarters ranged themselves 
Before the drum was heard. 



And then began the sailors' jests : 
" What thing is that, I say ? " 

" A long-shore meeting-house adrift 
Is standing down the bay ! 



?) 



A frown came over Morris' face ; 

The strange, dark craft he knew ; 
" That is the iron Merrimac, 

Manned by a rebel crew. 



52 ON BOARD THE CUMBERLAND. 

" So shot your guns, and point them straight ; 

Before this day goes by, 
We '11 try of what her metal 's made." 

A cheer was our reply. 

" Remember, boys, this flag of ours 

Has seldom left its place ; 
And where it falls, the deck it strikes** 

Is covered with disgrace. 

" I ask but this ; or sink or swim, 

Or live or nobly die, 
My last sight upon earth may be 

To see that ensign fly ! " 

Meanwhile the shapeless iron mass 

Came moving o'er the wave, 
As gloomy as a passing hearse, 

As silent as the grave. 






ON BOARD THE CUMBERLAND. 53 

Her ports were closed ; from stem to stern 

No sign of life appeared. 
We wondered, questioned, strained our eyes, 

Joked, — everything but feared. 

She reached our range. Our broadside rang, 

Our heavy pivots roared ; 
And shot and shell, a fire of hell, 

Against her sides we poured. 

God's mercy ! from her sloping roof 

The iron tempest glanced, 
As hail bounds from a cottage thatch, 

And round her leaped and danced ; 

Or when against her dusky hull 

We struck a fair, full blow, 
The mighty, solid iron globes 

Were crumbled up like snow. 



54 ON BOARD THE CUMBERLAND, 

On, on, with fast increasing speed 

The silent monster came, 
Though all our starboard battery 

Was one long line of flame. 

She heeded not, no gun she fired, 
Straight on our bow she bore ; 

Through riving plank and crashing frame 
Her furious way she tore. 

Alas ! our beautiful, keen bow, 

That in the fiercest blast 
So gently folded back the seas, 

They hardly felt we passed ! 

• 

Alas ! alas ! my Cumberland, 
That ne'er knew grief before, 

To be so gored, to feel so deep 
The tusk of that sea-boar ! 



ON BOARD THE CUMBERLAND. 55 

Once more she backward drew a space, 

Once more our side she rent ; 
Then, in the wantonness of hate, 

Her broadside through us sent. 

The dead and dying round us lay, 

But our foemen lay abeam ; 
Her open port-holes maddened us ; 

We fired with shout and scream. 



We felt our vessel settling fast, 

We knew our time was brief, 
"Ho! man the pumps!" But they who worked, 

And fought not, wept with grief. 

k 

" keep us but an hour afloat ! 

0, give us only time 
To mete unto yon rebel crew 

The measure of their crime ! " 



56 ON BOARD THE CUMBERLAND. 

From captain down to powder-boy 

No hand was idle then ; 
Two soldiers, but by chance aboard, 

Fought on like sailor men. 

And when a gun's crew lost a hand, 
Some bold marine stepped out, 

And jerked his braided jacket off, 
And hauled the gun about. 

Our forward magazine was drowned ; 

And up from the sick bay 
Crawled out the wounded, red with blood, 

And round us gasping lay. 

t 
Yes, cheering, calling us by name, 

Struggling with failing breath 
To keep their shipmates at the post 

Where glory strove with death. 



ON BOARD THE CUMBERLAND. 57 

With decks afloat, and powder gone, 

The last broadside we gave 
From the guns' heated iron lips 

Burst out beneath the wave. 



So sponges, rammers, and handspikes — 
As men-of-war's-men should — 

We placed within their proper racks, 
And at our quarters stood. 



" Up to the spar-deck ! save yourselves ! 

Cried Selfridge. " Up, my men ! 
God grant that some of us may live 

To fight yon ship again ! " 

We turned, — we did not like to go ; 

Yet staying seemed but vain, 
Knee-deep in water ; so we left ; 

Some swore, some groaned with pain. 
3* 



?? 






58 ON BOARD THE CUMBERLAND. 

We reached the deck. There Randall stood 
" Another turn, men, — so ! " 

Calmly he aimed his pivot gun : 
" Now, Tenny, let her go ! " 

It did our sore hearts good to hear 

The song our pivot sang, 
As, rushing on from wave to wave, 

The whirring bomb-shell sprang. 

Brave Randall leaped upon the gun, 

And waved his cap in sport ; 
" Well done ! well aimed ! I saw that shell 

Go through an open port." 

It was our last, our deadliest shot ; 

The deck was overflown ; 
The poor ship staggered, lurched to port, 

And gave a living groan. 






ON BOARD THE CUMBERLAND. 59 

Down, down, as headlong through the waves 

Our gallant vessel rushed, 
A thousand gurgling watery sounds 

Around my senses gushed. 

Then I remember little more. 

One look to heaven I gave, 
Where, like an angel's wing, I saw 

Our spotless ensign wave. 

I tried to cheer. I cannot say 

Whether I swam or sank ; 
A blue mist closed around my eyes, 

And everything was blank. 

When I awoke, a soldier lad, 

All dripping from the sea, 
With two great tears upon his cheeks, 

Was bending over me. 






60 ON BOARD THE CUMBERLAND. 

I tried to speak. He understood 

The wish I could not speak. 
He turned me. There, thank God ! the flag 

Still fluttered at the peak ! 

And there, while thread shall hang to thread, 

let that ensign fly ! 
The noblest constellation set 

Against our northern sky. 

A sign that we who live may claim 

The peerage of the brave ; 
A monument, that needs no scroll, 

For those beneath the wave. 



THE SWORD-BEARER. 

March 8, 1862. 

BRAVE Morris saw the day was lost ; 
For nothing now remained, 
On the wrecked and sinking Cumberland, 
But to save the flag unstained. 

So he swore an oath in the sight of Heaven, 
If he kept it the world can tell : — 

" Before I strike to a rebel flag, 
I '11 sink to the gates of hell ! 

" Here, take my sword ; 't is in my way ; 

I shall trip o'er the useless steel ; 
For I '11 meet the lot that falls to all 

With my shoulder art the wheel." 



62 THE SWORD-BEARER. 

So the little negro took the sword ; 

And with what reverent care, 
Following his master step by step, 

He bore it here and there ! 



A thought had crept through his sluggish brain, 

And shone in his dusky face, 
That somehow. — he could not tell just how — 

? T was the sword of his trampled race. 

And as Morris, great with his lion heart, 
Rushed onward, from gun to gun, 

The little negro slid after him, 
Like a shadow in the sun. 

But something of pomp and of curious pride 

The sable creature wore, 
Which at any time but a time like that 

Would have made th^ ship's crew roar. 



THE SWORD-BEARER. 63 

Over the wounded, dying, and dead, 

Like an usher of the rod, 
The black page, full of his mighty trust, 

With dainty caution trod. 

No heed he gave to the flying ball, 

No heed to the bursting shell ; 
His duty was something more than life, 

And he strove to do it well. 



Down, with our starry flag apeak, 

In the whirling sea we sank, 
And captain and crew and the sword-bearer 

Were washed from the bloody plank. 

They picked us up from the hungry waves ; - 
Alas ! not all ! — " And where, 

Where is the faithful negro lad ? " — 
" Back oars ! avast ! look there ! " 



64 THE SWORD-BEARER. 

We looked ; and, as Heaven may save my soul, 

I pledge you a sailor's word, 
There, fathoms deep in the sea, he lay, 

Still grasping his master's sword ! 

We drew him out ; and many an hour 
We wrought with his rigid form, 

Ere the almost smothered spark of life 
By slow degrees grew warm. 

The first dull glance that his eyeballs rolled 
Was down towards his shrunken hand ; 

And he smiled, and closed his eyes again 
As they fell on the rescued brand. 

And no one touched the sacred sword, 
Till at length, when Morris came, 

The little negro stretched it out, 
With his eager eyes aflame. 



THE SWORD-BEARER. 65 

And if Morris wrung the poor boy's hand, 
And his words seemed hard to speak, 

And tears ran down his manly cheeks, 
What tongue shall call him weak ? 



THE BALLAD OF NEW ORLEANS. 

April 24, 1862. 

JUST as the hour was darkest, 
Just between night and day, 
From the flag-ship shone the signal, 
" Get the squadrons under way." 

Not a sound but the tramp of sailors, 
And the wheeling capstan's creak, 

Arose from the busy vessels 
As the anchors came apeak. 

The men worked on in silence, 

With never a shout or cheer, 
Till 't was whispered from bow to quarter, 

" Start forward ! all is clear." 






THE BALLAD OF NEW ORLEANS. 67 

Then groaned the ponderous engine, 
Then floundered the whirling screw ; 

And as ship joined ship, the comrades 
Their lines of battle drew. 

The moon through the fog was casting 

A blur of lurid light, 
As the captain's latest order 

Was flashed into the night. 

" Steam on ! and whatever fortune 

May follow the attack, 
Sink with your bows all northward : 

No vessel must turn back ! " 

'T was hard when we heard that order 

To smother a rising shout ; 
For it wakened the life within us, 

And we burned to give it out. 



68 THE BALLAD OF NEW ORLEANS. 

All wrapped in the foggy darkness, 
Brave Bailey moved ahead ; 

And stem after stern, his gunboats 
To the starboard station led. 



Next Farragut's stately flag-ship 

To port her head inclined ; 
And midmost, and most in danger, 

Bell's squadron closed behind. 

Ah ! many a prayer was murmured 
For the homes we ne'er might see ; 

And the silence and night grew dreadful 
With the thought of what must be. 

For many a tall, stout fellow 
Who stood at his quarters then, 

In the damp and the dismal moonlight, 
Never saw the sun again. 



THE BALLAD OF NEW ORLEANS. 69 

Close down by the yellow river 

In their oozy graves they rot ; 
Strange vines and strange weeds grow o'er them, 

And their far homes know them not. 



But short was our time of musing ; 

For the rebel forts discerned 
That the whole great fleet was moving, 

And their batteries on us turned. 

Then Porter burst out from his mortars, 

In jets of fiery spray, 
As if a volcano had opened 

Where his leaf-clad vessels lay. 

i 
Howling and screeching and whizzing 

The bomb-shells arched on high, 

And then, like gigantic meteors, 

Dropped swiftly from the sky. 



70 THE BALLAD OF NEW ORLEANS. 

Dropped down on the low, doomed fortress 

A plague of iron death, 
Shattering earth and granite to atoms 

With their puffs of sulphurous breath. 



The whole air quaked and shuddered, 
As the huge globes rose and fell, 

And the blazing shores looked awful 
As the open gates of hell. 

Fort Jackson and Port Saint Philip, 

And the battery on the right, 
By this time were flashing and thundering 

Out into the murky night. 

Through the hulks and the cables, sundered 

By the bold Itasca's crew, 
Went Bailey in silence, though round him 

The shells and the grape-shot flew. 



THE BALLAD OF NEW ORLEANS. 71 

No answer he made to their welcome, 

Till abeam Saint Philip bore, 
Then, 0, but he sent them a greeting 

In his broadsides' steady roar ! 

Meanwhile, the old man, in the Hartford, 
Had ranged to Fort Jackson's side : 

What a sight ! he slowed his engines 
Till he barely stemmed the tide ; 

Yes, paused in that deadly tornado 
Of case-shot and shell and ball, 

Not a cable's length from the fortress, 
And he lay there, wood to wall. 

Have you any notion, you landsmen, 
Who have seen a field-fight won, 

Of canister, grape-shot, and shrapnel 
Hurled out from a ten-inch gun ? 



72 THE BALLAD OF NEW ORLEANS. 

I tell you, the air is nigh solid 
With the howling iron flight ; 

And 't was such a tempest blew o'er us 
Where the Hartford lay that night. 

Perched aloft in the forward rigging, 
With his restless eyes aglow, 

Sat Farragut, shouting his orders 
To the men who fought below. 

And the fort's huge faces of granite 
Were splintered and rent in twain, 

And the masses seemed slowly melting, 
Like snow in a torrid rain. 

Now quicker and quicker we fired, 
Till between us and the foe 

A torrent of blazing vapor 
Was leaping to and fro ; 



THE BALLAD OF NEW ORLEANS. 73 

While the fort, like a mighty caldron, 
Was boiling with flame and smoke, 

And the stone flew aloft in fragments, 
And the brick into powder broke. 

So thick fell the clouds o'er the river, 
You hardly could see your hand ; 

When we heard, from the fore-mast rigging, 
Old Farragut's sharp command : 

" Full head ! Steam across to Saint Philip ! 

Starboard battery, mind your aim ! 
Forecastle there, shift your pivots ! Now, 

Give them a taste of the same ! " 



Saint Philip grew faint in replying, 
Its voice of thunder was drowned ; 

" But, ha ! what is this ? Back the engines ! 
Back, back, the ship is aground ! " 

4 



74 THE BALLAD OF NEW ORLEANS. 

Straight down the swift current came sweeping 
A raft, spouting sparks and flame ; 

Pushed on by an iron-clad rebel, 
Under our port-side it came. 

At once the good Hartford was blazing, 

Below, aloft, fore and aft. 
" We are lost ! " " No, no ; we are moving ! " 

Away whirled the crackling raft. 

The fire was soon quenched. One last broadside 

We gave to the surly fort ; 
For above us the rebel gunboats 

Were wheeling like devils at sport. 

And into our vacant station 

Had glided a bulky form ; 
'T was Craven's stout Brooklyn, demanding 

Her share of the furious storm. 



THE BALLAD OF NEW ORLEANS. 75 

We could hear the shot of Saint Philip 

Ring on her armor of chain, 
And the crash of her answering broadside, 

Taking and giving again. 

We could hear the low growl of Craven, 
And Lowry's voice clear and calm, 

While they swept off the rebel ramparts 
As clean as your open palm. 

Then ranging close under our quarter, 

Out burst from the smoky fogs 
The queen of the waves, the Varuna, 

The ship of bold Charly Boggs. 

He waved his blue cap as he passed us ; 

The blood of his glorious race, 
Of Lawrence, the hero, was burning 

Once more in a living face. 






76 THE BALLAD OF NEW ORLEANS. 

Eight and left flashed his heavy pieces, 
Earns, gunboats — it mattered not ; 

Wherever a rebel flag floated 
Was a target for his shot. 

All burning and sinking around him 

Lay five of the foe ; but he, 
The victor, seemed doomed with the vanquished, 

When along dashed gallant Lee. 

And he took up the bloody conflict, 

And so well his part he bore, 
That the river ran fire behind him, 

And glimmered from shore to shore. 

But while powder would burn in a cannon, 
Till the water drowned his deck, 

Boggs pounded away with his pivots 
From his slowly settling wreck. 



THE BALLAD OF NEW ORLEANS. 77 

I think our great captains in Heaven, 
As they looked upon those deeds, 

Were proud of the flower of that navy, 
Of which they planted the seeds. 



Paul Jones, the knight-errant of ocean, 

Decatur, the lord of the seas, 
Hull, Lawrence, and Bainbridge, and Biddle, 

And Perry, the peer of all these ! 

If Porter beheld his descendant, 
With some human pride on his lip, 

I trust, through the mercy of Heaven, 
His soul was forgiven that slip. 

And thou, living veteran, Old Ironsides, 

The last of the splendid line, 
Thou link 'twixt the old and new glory, 

I know what feelings were thine ! 



78 THE BALLAD OF NEW ORLEANS. 

When the sun looked over the tree-tops, 
We found ourselves — Heaven knows how — 

Above the grim forts ; and that instant 
A smoke broke from Farragut's bow. 

And over the river came floating 

The sound of the morning gun ; 
And the stars and stripes danced up the halyards, 

And glittered against the sun. 

0., then what a shout from the squadrons ! 

As flag followed flag, till the day- 
Was bright with the beautiful standard, 

And wild with the victors' huzza ! 

But three ships were missing. The others 
Had passed through that current of flame ; 

And each scar on their shattered bulwarks 
Was touched by the finger of Fame. 



THE BALLAD OF NEW ORLEANS. 79 

Below us, the forts of the rebels 

Lay in the trance of despair ; 
Above us, uncovered and helpless, 

New Orleans clouded the air. 



Again, in long lines we went steaming 
Away towards the city's smoke ; 

And works were deserted before us, 
And columns of soldiers broke. 

In vain the town clamored and struggled ; 

The flag at our peak ruled the hour ; 
And under its shade, like a lion, 

Were resting the will and the power. 



THE VARUNA. 

SUNK APRIL 24, 1862. 

WHO has not heard of the dauntless 
Varuna ? 
Who has not heard of the deeds she has done ? 
Who shall not hear, while the brown Mississippi 
Rushes along from the snow to the sun ? 

Crippled and leaking she entered the battle, 
Sinking and burning she fought through the 
fray, 
Crushed were her sides, and the waves ran 
across her, 
Ere, like a death-wounded lion at bay, 
Sternly she closed in the last fatal grapple, 
Then in her triumph sank grandly away. 






THE VARUNA. 81 

Five of the rebels, like satellites round her, 
Burned in her orbit of splendor and fear ; 

One, like the Pleiad of mystical story, 

Shot, terror-stricken, beyond her dread sphere. 

We who are waiting with crowns for the victors, 
Though we should offer the wealth of our 
store, 
Load the Varuna from deck down to kelson, 

Still would be niggard, such tribute to pour 
On courage so boundless. It beggars possession, 
It knocks for just payment at heaven's bright 
door. 

Cherish the heroes who fought the Varuna ; 

Treat them as kings if they honor your way ; 
Succor and comfort the sick and the wounded ; 

Oh ! for the dead, let us all kneel to pray ! 



4# 






THE CROSSING AT FREDER- 
ICKSBURG. 

December 11, 1862. 

I LAY in my tent at mid-day, 
Too full of pain to die, 
When I heard the voice of Burnside, 
And an answering shout reply. 

I heard the voice of the General, — ■ 
5 T was firm, though low and sad ; 

But the roar that followed his question 
Laughed out till the hills were glad. 

" comrade, open the curtain, 
And see where our men are bound, 

For my heart is still in my bosom 
At that terrible, mirthful sound. 



CROSSING AT FREDERICKSBURG. 83 

" And hark what the General orders, 
For I could not catch his words ; 

And what means that hurry and movement, 
That clash of muskets and swords ? " 



" Lie still, lie still, my Captain, 

'T is a call for volunteers ; 
And the noise that vexes your fever 

Is only our soldiers' cheers." 

" Where go they ? " " Across the river." 

" God ! and must I lie still, 
While that drum and that measured trampling 

Move from me far down the hill ? 

" How many ? " "I judge, four hundred." 
" Who are they ? I '11 know to a man." 

" Our own Nineteenth and Twentieth, 
And the Seventh Michigan." 



84 THE CROSSING 

" 0, to go, but to go with my comrades ! 

Tear the curtain away from the hook ; 
For I '11 see them march down to their glory. 

If I perish by the look ! " 

They leaped in the rocking shallops. 

Ten offered where one could go ; 
And the breeze was alive with laughter 

Till the boatmen began to row. 

Then the shore, where the rebels harbored, 
Was fringed with a gush of flame, 

And buzzing, like bees, o'er the water 
The swarms of their bullets came. 

In silence, how dread and solemn ! 

With courage, how grand and true ! 
Steadily, steadily onward 

The line of the shallops drew. 






AT FREDERICKSBURG. 85 

Not a whisper ! Each man was conscious 
He stood in the sight of death ; 

So he bowed to the awful presence, 
And treasured his living breath. 

'Twixt death in the air above them, 

And death in the waves below, 
Through balls and grape and shrapnel 

They moved — my God, how slow ! 

And many a brave, stout fellow, 
Who sprang in the boats with mirth, 

Ere they made that fatal crossing 
Was a load of lifeless earth. 

And many a brave, stout fellow, 

Whose limbs with strength were rife, 

Was torn and crushed and shattered, — 
A helpless wreck for life. 



86 THE CROSSING 

But yet the boats moved onward ; 

Through fire and lead they drove, 
With the dark, still mass within them, 

And the floating stars above. 

So loud and near it sounded, 

I started at the shout, 
As the keels ground on the gravel, 

And the eager men burst out. 

Cheer after cheer we sent them, 

As only armies can, — 
Cheers for old Massachusetts, 

Cheers for young Michigan ! 

They formed in line of battle ; 

Not a man was out of place. 
Then with levelled steel they hurled them 

Straight in the rebels' face. 



AT FREDERICKSBURG. 87 



" O, help me, help me, comrade 
For tears my eyelids drown, 

As I see their starry banners 
Stream up the smoking town. 



" And see the noisy workmen 
O'er the lengthening bridges run, 

And the troops that swarm to cross them 
When the rapid work be done. 

" For the old heat, or a new one, 

Flames up in every vein ; 
And with fever or with passion 

T am faint as death again. 



" If this is death, I care not ! 

Hear me, men, from rear to van ! 
One more cheer for Massachusetts, 

And one more for Michigan ! " 



HOOKER'S ACROSS. 

Mat 1, 1863. 

HOOKER 's across ! Hooker 's across ! 
Standards and guidons and lance-pen* 
nons toss 
Over the land where he points with his blade, 
Bristle the hill-top, and fill up the glade. 
Who would not follow a leader whose blood 
Has swelled, like our own, the battle's red 

flood? 
Who bore what we suffered, our wound and 

our pain, — 
Bore them with patience, and dares them again ? 
Hooker *s across ! 



HOOKER'S ACROSS 89 

Hooker 's across ! Hooker 's across ! 
River of death, you shall make up our loss ! 
Out of your channel we summon each soul, 
Over whose body your dark billows roll ; 
Up from your borders we summon the dead, 
Prom valleys and hills where they struggled 

and bled, 
To joy in the vengeance the traitors shall feel 
At the roar of our guns and the rush of our 

steel ! 

Hooker 's across ! 

Hooker 's across ! Hooker 's across ! 
Fears to the wind, with our standards, we toss, 
Moving together, straight on, with one breath, 
Down to the outburst of passion and death. 
0, in the depths of our spirits we know 
If we fail now in the face of the foe, 
Flee from the field with our flag soiled and dim, 
We may return, but 't will not be with him ! 
Hooker 's across ! 



ERIC, THE MINSTREL. 

A PARABLE. 

Mat 7, 1863. 

IN a great ring the Danish barons sat ; 
Their bitter hearts were cold within their 
breasts ; 
For all that day the fortunes of the fight 
Had gone against them, and the Saxon axe 
Had hewed their faces, driving them perforce 
Back to their moated camp beside the sea. 
So in the evening, one by one, they came, 
Unsummoned, to the presence of the Prince 
For further counsel ; though no word as yet 
Broke the dark circle, where they brooding sat 
With their brown chins upon their sinewy 
hands. 






ERIC, THE MINSTREL. 91 

Much they bemoaned their lot with muffled 

groans, 
And hard, deep-chested spasms of wordless 

pain ; 
And many an eye rolled from the pil£d arms 
To the small harbor, where the rocking ships 
Plashed their long spars against the setting sun, 
And seemed to beckon them away. Of all 
Ragner, the Prince, was gloomiest. His eyes 
Were dull and filmy, as a slaughtered wolfs, 
Turned up to wither in the staring moon. 
His grizzly beard hung down across his knees, 
So low he bent, and his great, open face 
Was void and stagnant ; not a ray of thought 
Glimmered upon it. Had not, now and then, 
His thick breath hissed between his grinding 

teeth, 
Or a deep groan surged, like a breaking wave, 
Through his whole form, none would have said 

he lived. 



92 ERIC, THE MINSTREL. 

He had staked all upon one fatal fight. 
Loud had he boasted of his strength and skill, 
His men, his weapons, and his discipline, 
That bound them all together in one will. 
Much had he sneered at other chiefs, whose 

deeds 
Had failed before the foe, through lack of wit; 
Vaunting himself, and stamping on their wrecks. 
Was this the issue ? — this sad, woe-begone, 
Fear-stricken huddle of disheartened men ? 
His hopes had failed him. A despised foe, 
Famished, half-clad, unsandalled, scantly armed, 
With torn and bleeding hands had struck his 

swords, 
His cunning engines and far-flying shafts, 
Down to this ruin : with them, too, the crown, 
Growing in fancy o'er his princely house. 
Ragner said naught ; for there was naught to 

say, 
That babbling gossips might not say as well, 



ERIC, THE MINSTREL. 93 

Years hence, above the embers. So he turned 
His brow against the hide-walls of his tent, 
And almost wept for shame. The curtains 

shook : 
A face as brilliant as the evening-star, 
And cheerful as an angel's that has looked, 
A moment since, upon the light of heaven, 
Shone steadily above that darkened group, 
And drew their eyes together towards its beams. 
Eric, the minstrel, entered in the tent, 
And softly stepped before the wretched chiefs, 
With the bard's license. " Kagner," he began, 
" And you, pale comrades of his misery, 
Is this a time for weakness ? this a time 
To drop your manhood, and to change your 

sex, 
Now while ye need a double share of strength, 
Of skill and courage, to make good the loss 
That fell upon you in to-day's mishap ? 
Is this a time for gloomy brows, dead brains, 



94 ERIC, THE MINSTREL. 

Slack hands and failing hearts ? Is this a time 
To empty memory of its olden stores, 
And turn your backs upon your history ? 
Is this a time for sheep to nibble grass, 
And fatten for the butcher, while the plain 
Is red with corpses, only fit for wolves 
And the swart ravens' talons ? If there was 
Ever to Danish men the sudden need 
Of all God's best endowments, it is now. 
Rise, or your lives are forfeit for your sloth ! " 
They bounded up, as if they felt the foe 
Already hacking at their cowering backs, 
And bent their glances towards the distant 

ships, 
With sullen meaning. " Rise, rise higher yet ! 
And turn your faces frowning on the foe ; 
Or you lose more than life, your honor, chiefs ; 
The fame that made you, when yon sun arose, 
All that you were." Then, with a feeble groan, 
They all sank down upon the ground again. 



ERIC, THE MINSTREL. 95 

Scorn flashed o'er Eric's features a hot light, 
Like that which pulses in the summer nights, 
Ruddy and frequent. But he calmed himself; 
And with a sigh, he took from off his arm 
His Norman harp ; and whispered to himself, 
In tones as tender as his mother used, 
" This is the time to sing." He wound his 

hands 
Round the long wires, and every warbling string 
Flickered before him, like a jet of flame 
That leaps along the darkness. And he sang 
His nation's birth, its growing infancy, 
Rocked on the billows in long, pointed ships. 
And then he sang how tribe was joined to tribe 
In the dark forests, falling with the growth 
Of gathered people, till the teeming land 
Waved yellow grain, and smoked with forges. 

How 
The streams turned round upon the wheels in 

foam, 



96 ERIC, THE MINSTREL. 

And ground and hammered slavishly for man. 
Then he struck out in triumph from the cords, 
And raised his voice, accordant to the theme, 
The glory of his nation. How she warred 
With neighboring powers, and spread her 

tongue and laws, 
From the cramped borders where her strength 

was nursed, 
Up towards the ice, and downward towards the 

sun. 
The sea became her highway. Here and there 
She set her foot upon far distant shores, 
And founded other nations. On the name 
The Norman carried to the Pyrenees, 
He hung in rapture. O'er and o'er again 
He sang of Charlemagne and all his peers ; 
Of Roncesvalles, and of Roland's horn, 
Until the horn seemed peeling in their ears ; 
Or sinking fainter with the hero's breath, 
Lower and lower, till the dismal night 






ERIC, THE MINSTREL. 97 

Sank down and settled upon Roland's corse. 
Then he sang other fields, of happier fate ; 
Drawing his pictures on the painted air 
With harp and voice, as plainly to the sense 
As any since have wrought with tinted brush ; 
And snorting steeds and mail-clad men, in 

square, 
In line, in column, thundered past their eyes ; 
And banners waved, and lances splintered up 
On ringing shields and hauberks ; till there 

came 
The serious press, at arm's length, of the swords ; 
When the foe paused, shook, wavered, turned, 

and fled, 
With all the Norman barons, at his heels, 
Shouting their triumph in the hot pursuit. 
By this, the chiefs had started from the ground, 
With the grand light of battle flaming out 
Prom their red eyeballs ; and outside the tent, 
A .murmur circled from the listening host, — 

5 G 



98 ERIC, THE MINSTREL. 

A murmur ending in a shrill, wild cheer, 
That made the blood fly leaping through the 

veins, 
And sent the right hand seeking for the sword. 
Then Ragner strode from out the tent, and saw 
His hurrying soldiers buckling on their arms ; 
And heard the tested bow-strings snap and 

twang, 
And sheaves of arrows rattling as they swung ; 
And all the sounds a forming army makes 
Came up, like music, to his wondering ears. 
So he drew forth his sword amidst his chiefs, 
And their swords followed. Then the minstrel 

stole, 
Unthanked, away, to weep beside his harp, 
Dejected, prayerful : but that field was won. 



THE BLACK REGIMENT. 

Port Hudson, May 27, 1863. 

DARK as the clouds of even, 
Ranked in the western heaven, 
Waiting the breath that lifts 
All the dread mass, and drifts 
Tempest and falling brand 
Over a ruined land ; — 
So still and orderly, 
Arm to arm, knee to knee, 
Waiting the great event, 
Stands the black regiment. 

Down the long dusky line 
Teeth gleam and eyeballs shine ; 



100 THE BLACK REGIMENT. 

And the bright bayonet, 
Bristling and firmly set, 
Flashed with a purpose grand, 
Long ere the sharp command 
Of the fierce rolling drum 
Told them their time had come, 
Told them what work was sent 
For the black regiment. 



" Now," the flag-sergeant cried, 
" Though death and hell betide, 
Let the whole nation see 
If we are fit to be 
Free in this land ; or bound 
Down, like the whining hound, - 
Bound with red stripes of pain 
In our old chains again ! " 
0, what a shout there went 
From the black regiment ! 



THE BLACK REGIMENT. 101 

" Charge ! " Trump and drum awoke, 
Onward the bondmen broke ; 
Bayonet and sabre-stroke 
Vainly opposed their rush. 
Through the wild battle's crush, 
With but one thought aflush, 
Driving their lords like chaff, 
In the guns' mouths they laugh ; 
Or at the slippery brands 
Leaping with open hands, 
Down they tear man and horse, 
Down in their awful course ; 
Trampling with bloody heel 
Over the crashing steel, 
All their eyes forward bent, 
Eushed the black regiment. 



" Freedom ! " their battle-cry, — 
" Freedom ! or leave to die ! " 



102 THE BLACK REGIMENT. 

Ah ! and they meant the word, 
Not as with us 'tis heard, 
Not a mere party shout : 
They gave their spirits out ; 
Trusted the end to God, 
And on the gory sod 
Boiled in triumphant blood. 
Glad to strike one free blow, 
Whether for weal or woe ; 
Glad to breathe one free breath, 
Though on the lips of death. 
Praying — alas ! in vain ! — 
That they might fall again, 
So they could once more see 
That burst to liberty ! 
This was what " freedom " lent 
To the black regiment. 

Hundreds on hundreds fell ; 
But they are resting well ; 






THE BLACK REGIMENT. 103 

Scourges and shackles strong 
Never shall do them wrong. 
0, to the living few, 
Soldiers, be just and true ! 
Hail them as comrades tried ; 
Fight with them side by side ; 
Never, in field or tent, 
Scorn the black regiment ! 



BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

May 19, 1863. 

WHILE Sherman stood beneath the hot- 
test fire, 
That from the lines of Vicksburg gleamed, 
And bomb-shells tumbled in their smoky gyre, 
And grape-shot hissed, and case-shot 
screamed ; 
Back from the front there came, 
Weeping and sorely lame, 
The merest child, the youngest face 
Man ever saw in such a fearful place. 

Stifling his tears, he limped his chief to meet ; 
But when he paused, and tottering stood, 






BEFORE VICKSBURG. 105 

Around the circle of his little feet 
There spread a pool of bright, young blood. 
Shocked at his doleful case, 
Sherman cried, " Halt ! front face ! 
Who are you ? Speak, my gallant boy ! " 
" A drummer, sir : — Fifty-fifth Illinois." 

" Are you not hit?" " That 's nothing. Only 
send 
Some cartridges : our men are out ; 
And the foe press us." " But, my little 
friend — " 
" Don't mind me ! Did you hear that shout ? 
What if our men be driven ? 
0, for the love of Heaven, 
Send to my Colonel, General dear ! " 
" But you ? " " 0, 1 shall easily find the rear." 

" I '11 see to that," cried Sherman ; and a drop, 
Angels might envy, dimmed his eye, 






106 BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

As the boy, toiling towards the hill's hard top, 
Turned round, and with his shrill child's cry 
Shouted, " 0, don't forget ! 
We '11 win the battle yet ! 
But let our soldiers have some more, 
More cartridges, sir, — calibre fifty-four ! " 



THE BATTLE OF LOOKOUT 
MOUNTAIN. 



November 24, 1863. 

" A^t IVB me but two brigades," said Hooker, 

^^ frowning at fortified Lookout ; 
" And I '11 engage to sweep yon mountain clear 

of that mocking rebel rout." 
At early morning came an order, that set the 

General's face aglow : 
" Now," said he to his staff, " draw out my 

soldiers ! Grant says that I may go." 

Hither and thither dashed each eager Colonel, 

to join his regiment, 
While a low rumor of the daring purpose ran 

on from tent to tent. 



108 THE BATTLE OF 

For the long roll was sounding through the 
valley, and the keen trumpet's bray, 

And the wild laughter of the swarthy veterans, 
who cried, " We fight to-day ! " 



The solid tramp of infantry, the rumble of the 

great jolting gun, 
The sharp, clear order, and the fierce steeds 

neighing, "Why 's not the fight begun ? " 
All these plain harbingers of sudden conflict 

broke on the startled ear ; 
And last arose a sound that made your blood 

leap, the ringing battle-cheer. 



The lower works were carried at one onset; 

like a vast roaring sea 
Of steel and fire, our soldiers from the trenches 

swept out the enemy ; 



LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN. 109 

And we could see the gray-coats swarming up 
from the mountain's leafy base, 

To join their comrades in the higher fastness, — 
for life or death the race ! 



Then our long line went winding up the moun- 
tain, in a huge serpent-track, 

And the slant sun upon it flashed and glim- 
mered as on a dragon's back. 

Higher and higher the column's head pushed 
onward, ere the rear moved a man ; 

And soon the skirmish-lines their straggling 
volleys and single shots began. 



Then the bald head of Lookout flamed and 
bellowed, and all its batteries woke, 

And down the mountain poured the bomb-shells, 
puffing into our eyes their smoke ; 



110 THE BATTLE OF 

And balls and grape-shot rained upon our 
column, that bore the angry shower 

As if it were no more than that soft dropping 
which scarcely stirs the flower. 



0, glorious courage that inspires the hero, and 

runs through all his men ! 
The heart that failed beside the Rappahannock, 

it was itself again ! 
The star that circumstance and jealous faction 

shrouded in envious night 
Here shone with all the splendor of its nature, 

and with a freer light ! 



Hark, hark ! there go the well-known crashing 
volleys, the long-continued roar 

That swells and falls, but never ceases wholly 
until the fight is o'er. 



LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN. Ill 

Up towards thfi crystal gates of heaven ascend- 
ing, the mortal tempest beat, 

As if they sought to try their cause together 
before God's very feet. 

We saw our troops had gained a footing almost 
beneath the topmost ledge, 

And back and forth the rival lines went surging 
upon the dizzy edge. 

We saw, sometimes, our men fall backward 
slowly, and groaned in our despair ; 

Or cheered when now and then a stricken rebel 
plunged out in open air, 

Down, down, a thousand empty fathoms drop- 
ping,—- his God alone knows where ! 

At eve thick haze upon the mountain gathered, 
with rising smoke stained black, 

And not a glimpse of the contending armies 
shone through the swirling rack. 



112 THE BATTLE OF 

Night fell o'er all ; but still they flashed their 
lightnings and rolled their thunders loud, 

Though no man knew upon which side was 
going that battle in the cloud. 



Night — what a night ! — of anxious thought 
and wonder, but still no tidings came 

From the bare summit of the trembling moun- 
tain, still wrapped in mist and flame. 

But towards the sleepless dawn, stillness, more 
dreadful than the fierce sound of war, 

Settled o'er Nature, as if she stood breathless 
before the morning star. 



As the sun rose, dense clouds of smoky vapor 
boiled from the valley's deeps, 

Dragging their torn and ragged edges slowly 
up through the tree-clad steeps ; 



LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN. H3 

And rose and rose, till Lookout, like a vision, 

above us grandly stood, 
And over his bleak crags and storm-blanched 

headlands burst the warm golden flood. 



Thousands of eyes were fixed upon the moun- 
tain, and thousands held their breath, 

And the vast army, in the valley watching, 
seemed touched with sudden death. 

High o'er us soared great Lookout, robed in 
purple, a glory on his face, 

A human meaning in his hard, calm features, 
beneath that heavenly grace. 



Out on a crag walked something — what ? an 
eagle, that treads yon giddy height ? 

Surely no man ! but still he clambered forward 
into the full, rich light. 



114 THE BATTLE OF 

Then up he started, with a sudden motion, and 
from the blazing crag 

Flung to the morning breeze and sunny radi- 
ance the dear old starry flag ! 



Ah ! then what followed ? Scarred and war- 
worn soldiers, like girls, flushed through 
their tan, 

And down the thousand wrinkles of the battles 
a thousand tear-drops ran. 

Men seized each other in returned embraces, 
and sobbed for very love ; 

A spirit, which made all that moment brothers, 
seemed falling, from above. 



And as we gazed, around the mountain's sum- 
mit our glittering files appeared, 

Into the rebel works we saw them moving; 
and we — we cheered, we cheered ! 



LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN. 115 

And they above waved all their flags before us, 

and joined our frantic shout, 
Standing, like demigods, in light and triumph 

upon their own Lookout ! 



IN THE WILDERNESS. 

May 7, 1864. 

[The incident contained in the following poem is narrated by a 
correspondent of the New York Tribune in a letter from the 
battle-field, dated " Wilderness, May 7, 1864."] 

MANGLED, uncared for, suffering thro' 
the night 
With heavenly patience the poor boy had 
lain ; 
Under the dreary shadows, left and right, 
Groaned on the wounded, stiffened out the 
slain. 
What faith sustained his lone, 
Brave heart to make no moan, 
To send no cry from that blood-sprinkled sod, 
Is a close mystery with him and God. 



IN THE WILDERNESS. 117 

But when the light came, and the morning dew 

Glittered around him, like a golden lake, 
And every dripping flower with deepened hue 
Looked through its tears for very pity's sake, 
He moved his aching head 
Upon his rugged bed, 
And smiled as a blue violet, virgin-meek, 
Laid her pure kiss upon his withered cheek. 

At once there circled in his waking heart 
A thousand memories of distant home ; 
Of how %ose same blue violets would start 
Along his native fields, and some would roam 
Down his dear humming brooks, 
To hide in secret nooks, 
And, shyly met, in nodding circles swing, 
Like gossips murmuring at. belated Spring. 

And then he thought of the beloved hands 
That with his own had plucked the modest 
flower, 



118 IN THE WILDERNESS. 

The blue-eyed maiden, crowned with golden 
bands, 
Who ruled as sovereign of that sunny hour. 
She at whose soft command 
He joined the mustering band, 
She for whose sake he lay so firm and still, 
Despite his pangs, nor questioned then her will. 

So, lost in thought, scarce conscious of the deed, 
Culling the violets, here and there he crept 
Slowly, — ah ! slowly, — for his wound would 
bleed ; 
And the sweet flowers themselves half smiled, 
half wept, 
To be thus gathered in 
By hands so pale and thin, 
By fingers trembling as they neatly laid 
Stem upon stem, and bound them in a braid. 

The strangest posy ever fashioned yet 
Was clasped against the bosom of the lad, 



IN THE WILDERNESS. 119 

As we, the seekers for the wounded, set 

His form upon our shoulders bowed and sad ; 

Though he but seemed to think 

How violets nod and wink ; 
And'as we cheered him, for the path was wild, 
He only looked upon his flowers and smiled. 






ODE TO AMERICA. 

March 7, 1862. 

NO more of girls and wine, 
No more of pastoral joys, 
No after-sighing for some antique line 
Of bearded kings, who, at their nation's birth, 

As children play with toys, 
Made merry with our earth : 
No more, no more of these ! 

The girls are pale ; 
The wine is drunken to the lees ; 
Still are the bleatings of the woolly fold ; 
The olden kings look thin and cold, 
Like dim belated ghosts 
That hurrying sail 
Towards their dark graves, 



ODE TO AMERICA. 121 

Along the brightening coasts, 
And sapphire hollows of the crested waves, 
Chased by the golden lances hurled 
From the young sun above his cloudy world. 

My country, let me turn to thee, 
With love and pride that glow 
Pure as twin altar-fires which blow 
Their flames together to one Deity. 
Look where I may, 
O land beneath the iron sway 
Of the strong hand ; — 
land gored through and through 
By thy own faithless brand ; 
Land of once happy homes, 

To whose now darkened doors 
The hand of sorrow comes, 
Early and late, and pours, 
With no soft prelude, or no warning beat, 
Her urn of bitter tears before thy feet ! 

6 






122 ODE TO AMERICA. 

suffering, patient land, 
Thou bearest thy awful woe 

So grandly, with such high command 
Of tears, that dare not flow 

For the great godlike smile 

Which crowns thy lips the while, 
And stills thy mighty heart to move 
As calmly on as when the hand of love 

Guided thy peaceful realm, 
And idly swung the almost useless helm ; 
That I, who, in my erring thought, 

Have often wronged thy fame, 

By sneers and taunts of blame, 
Bow down with penitence o'erfraught, 

And pangs of reverent shame. 

Thy rulers put aside thy rights ; 

Thou murmurest not : 

They waste thy gold ; 
Still thy great cause is not forgot. 
Thy ancient foe grows loud, and bold 



ODE TO AMERICA. 123 

To proffer counsel, jeers, and spurns ; 

The swaggering coward burns 
With new-found courage ; England smites 

Thy sensitive, proud cheek, — 
Smites, like a craven, when she deems thee 
weak ! 

Thy pale, stern features blush, 

Thy passionate arteries gush 

With hot rebellious blood : 
But thou stillest the raging flood ; 
Thou seemest to listen, in a patient hush, 

To the audacious kings, 

As they prattle empty things. 

Thy pale, stern features blush 
From thy heart the churl is spurned ; 

But thy ready sinews pause, 

Eemembering thy holy cause, 
And the blow is not returned ! 

Not yet, not yet ! 0, bear, 
As the lion in his lair, 



124 ODE TO AMERICA. 

Whetting his teeth and gathering all his 
strength, 
Bears the insulting cry 
Of hunters drawing nigh 
The dreadful door of his invaded home : 
Whence, with a roar and bound, at length — 
With bristling hair, with mane that rolls 
Above his fiery eyes, 
Like the tumultuous vapors of the skies, 
Above the piercing lightning — he shall come, 
The lordly beast, whose lifted paw controls 
The fatal ends of life, and, in his wrath, 
Sweep from his onward path 
The awe-struck phalanx of his enemies ! 
I saw thy many squadrons file and form ; 
I saw them driving through a deadly storm 
Of shot and shell, 
Where thousands fell ; 
But who survived, ah ! they, indeed, 
Were soldiers true ; a race to breed 



ODE TO AMERICA. 125 

Avenging warriors, ripening for the day 
When thou shalt cast thy shame away. 
I saw thy mail-clad fleets, whose ponderous arms 
Laugh at the toys of Europe, daily grow 
By stream and silent lake. 
I saw them glide and take 
The sheltered waters, as the wild swan glides, 
With scarce a ripple at their moulded sides, 

To mar the current in its onward flow. 
Swiftly they gathered, by the rising walls 
Of arm£d ports ; 

Hither and thither at prodigious sports, 
To try their watery wings, they sped ; 
Then snuffed a welcome from the briny 
breeze, 
And, with one will, away they fled 
To join their dusky sisters of the seas ! 
I saw it all ; and bending low, 
My lips against thy ear I set, 
With " Hist ! a hope begins to grow ! 
Bear on, bear on ! Not yet, not yet ! " 



126 ODE TO AMERICA. 

glory of our race, 
Long suffering guardian of the free, 
Thou who canst dare to be, 
For a great purpose, in a lowly place ! — 
Thou who canst stretch the olive o'er the wave, 
And smite the master of the slave, 
Yet wisely measure all 
That might and must befall 
Ere the great end shall crown the thing to be ! — 
How shall I honor thee ? 
How shall I fitly speak, 
In song so faint and weak, 
Of majesty and wisdom such as thine ? 
For now the scales, so long 
Held on the side of wrong, 
To thee again incline ; 
And thou mayst lift thy radiant head, 
And bind thy ring of re-appearing stars 
About thy forehead, and forget thy scars 

In joy at holding that for which they bled ! 



ODE TO AMERICA. 127 

Resume thy place, unchallenged now, 
Nor bow thy glories to the haughtiest brow 

That wears a royal crown ! 

False prophets scowled thee down, 
And whispered darkly of thy coming fate : 

The cause, the way, the date, 
They wrote for thee with the slow augur's 
hand. — 

Their lies were scrawled in sand ! 

They perished utterly ! 
What is the splendor of the diadem, 
The gilded throne, the broidered carpet-hem, 
The purple robe, the sceptre, and the strain 

Of foregone kings, whose race 

Defies the herald's trace, 
Before thy regal steps on land and main ? 

There are some deeds so grand 

That their mighty doers stand 
Ennobled, in a moment, more than kings ; 

And such deeds, land sublime, 

Need no sanctity from time ; 



128 ODE TO AMERICA. 

Their own epoch they create, 

Whence all meaner things take date ; 
Then exalt thee, for such noble deeds were 
thine ! 

Envy nothing born of earth, 

Rank nor wealth nor ancient birth, 
Nor the glittering sorrows of a crown. 

Nation, take instead 

Thy measureless renown, 
To wrap thy young limbs like a royal stole, 

And God's own flaming aureole, 

To settle on thy head ! 



OREMUS. 

WE will not raise, God, the formal prayer 
Of broken heart and shattered nerve ; 
Thou know'st our griefs, our wants, and what- 
soe'er 
Is best for those who serve. 

Before Thy feet, in silence and in awe, 
We open lay our cause and need : 

As brave men may, the patriot sword we draw, 
But Thine must be the deed. 

We have no pageantry to please Thy eye, 
Save marshalled men, who marching come 

Beneath Thy gaze in arm6d panoply ; 
No music save the drum. 

6* i 



130 OREMUS. 

We have no altar, builded in Thy sight, 
From which the fragrant offerings rise, 

Save this wide field of hot and bloody fight ; 
These dead, our sacrifice. 

To this great cause the force of prayer is given, 
The wordless prayer of righteous will ; 

Before whose strength the ivory gates of heaven 
Fall open, and are still. 

For we believe, within our inmost souls, 
That what men do with spirit sad 

To Thee in one vast cloud of worship rolls, — 
Rolls up, and makes Thee glad. 

God, if reason may presume so far, 
We say our cause is also Thine ; 

We read its truth in every flashing star, 
In every sacred line. 



OREMUS. 131 

By Thy commission freedom first was sent, 
To hold the tyrant's force at bay ; 

The chain that broke in Egypt, was not meant 
To bind our shining day. 

Freedom to all ! in Thy great name we cry, 
And lift to heaven Thy bloody sword ; 

Too long have we been blind in heart and eye 
To Thy outspoken word. 

Before the terrors of that battle-call, 

As flax before the gusty flame, 
Down, down, the vanquished enemy shall fall, 

Stricken with endless shame ! 

Here let division cease. Join hand with hand, 
Join voice with voice ; a general shout 

Shall, like a whirlwind, sweep our native land, 
And purge the traitors out ! 



132 OREMUS. 

Fear not or faint not. God, who ruleth men, 
Marks where his noble martyrs lie : 

They shall all rise beneath His smile again ; 
His foes alone shall die. 



AD POETAS. 

O BROTHER bards, why stand ye silent all, 
Amidst these days of noble strife, 
While drum and fife and the fierce trumpet-call 
Awake the land to life ? 

Now is the time, if ever time there was, 
To strike aloud the sounding lyre, 

To touch the heroes of our holy cause 
Heart-deep with ancient fire. 

'T is not for all, like Norman Taillefere, 

To sing before the warlike horde 
Our fathers' glories, the great trust we bear, 

And strike with harp and sword. 



134 AD POETAS. 

Nor yet to frame a lay whose moving rhyme 
Shall flow in music North and South, 

And fill with passion, till the end of time, 
The nation's choral mouth. 



Yet surely, while our country rocks and reels, 
Your sweetly-warbled olden strains 

Would mitigate the deadly shock she feels, 
And soothe her in her pains. 

Some knight of old romance, in full career, 
Heard o'er his head the skylark sing, 

And, pausing, leaned upon his bloody spear, 
Lost in that simple thing. 

If by your songs no heroes shall be made 
To look death boldly eye to eye, 
' They may glide gently to the martyr's aid 
When he lies down to die. 






AD POETAS. 135 

And many a soldier, on his gory bed, 
May turn himself, with lessened pain, 

And bless you for the tender words you said, 
Now singing in his brain. 

So ye, who hold your breath amidst the fight, 

Be to your sacred calling true : 
Sing on ! the far result is not in sight 

Of the great good ye do. 



THE FLAG. 

September 22, 1862. 

SPIRITS of patriots, hail in heaven again 
The flag for which ye fought and died> 
Now that its field, washed clear of every stain, 
Floats out in honest pride ! 

Free blood flows through its scarlet veins once 
more, 

And brighter shine its silver bars ; 
A deeper blue God's ether never wore 

Amongst the golden stars. 

See how our earthly constellation gleams ; 

And backward, flash for flash, returns 
Its heavenly sisters their immortal beams 

With light that fires and burns, — 






THE FLAG. 137 

That burns because a moving soul is there, 

A living force, a shaping will, 
Whose law the fate-forecasting powers of air 

Acknowledge and fulfil. 

At length the day, by prophets seen of old, 
Flames on the crimsoned battle-blade ; 

Henceforth, flag, no mortal bought and sold, 
Shall crouch beneath thy shade. 

That shame has vanished in the darkened past, 

With all the wild chaotic wrongs 
That held the struggling centuries shackled fast 

With fear's accursed thongs. 

Therefore, patriot fathers, in your eyes 
I brandish thus our banner pure : 

Watch o'er us, bless us, from your peaceful skies, 
And make the issue sure ! 



DRAGOON'S SONG. 

CLASH, clash goes the sabre against my 
steed's side, 
Kling, kling go the rowels, as onward I ride ; 
And all my bright harness is living and speaks, 
And under my horseshoes the frosty ground 

creaks ; 
I wave my buff glove to the girl whom I love, 
Then join my dark squadron, and forward I 
move. 

The foe, all secure, has lain down by his gun ; 
I '11 open his eyelids before the bright sun. 
I burst on his pickets ; they scatter, they fly ; 
Too late they awaken, — 9 t is only to die. 



DRAGOON'S SONG. 139 

Now the torch to their camp ; I '11 make it a 

lamp, 
As back to my quarters so slowly I tramp. 

Kiss, kiss me, my darling ! your lover is here. 
Nay, kiss off the smoke-stains ; keep back that 

bright tear ; 
Keep back that bright tear till the day when I 

come, 
To the low wailing fife and deep muffled drum, 
With a bullet half through this bosom so true, 
To die, as I ought, for my country and you. 



LANCER'S SONG. 

A SIGH to the lips that we love from the 
heart, 
A scowl to the foe that is moving before us ; 
Then mount, slacken reins, and spur hard for 
the start, 
With our pennons blown out, and our spears 
slanted o'er us ! 

Who feels not his spirit mount up for this deed 

Is a wretch, — in the soul of our souls we 

abhor him ; 

May he fall, like a dog, in the path of his steed, 

And our close trampling hoofs in a torrent 

sweep o'er him ! 






LANCERS SONG. 141 

But who for his country shall fall on the field, 
God, take his soul, if thou wilt not restore 
him ; 
Make thy presence around him his comfort and 
shield, 
And gather thy angels, and spread their 
wings o'er him ! 

We have sighed our last sigh, we have prayed 

our last prayer : 

country, the best of the life that 's before us 

We give thee ungrudging, in hope, not despair ; 

And we ask but thy tear when the volley 

rings o'er us. 



CAVALRY SONG. 

DRAW your girths tight, boys 
This morning we ride, 
With God and the right, boys, 
To sanction our side, 
Where the balls patter, 
Where the shot shatter, 
Where the shells scatter 
Red death far and wide. 

Pause not to think, boys, 

Of maidens in tears ; 
Only this drink, boys, 

Let 's toss to our dears : 






CAVALRY SONG, 143 

Then for the battle, 



The mad charging rattle, 
The foam-snorting cattle, 
The victors' wild cheers ! 

Look to your arms, boys, 

Your friends tried and true : 
How the blood warms, boys ! 
The foe is in view ! 

Forward ! break cover ! 
Ride through them ! ride over 
Them ! baptize the clover 
With blood as with dew ! 



MARCH ALONG. 

SOLDIERS are we from the mountain and 
valley, 
Soldiers are we from the hill and the plain ; 
Under the flag of our fathers we rally ; 
Death, for its sake, is but living again. 
Then march along, gay and strong, 
March to battle with a song ! 
March, march along ! 



We have a history told of our nation, 
We have a name that must never go down ; 

Heroes achieved it through toil and privation ; 
Bear it on, bright with its ancient renown ! 
Then march along, etc. 



MARCH ALONG. 145 

Who that shall dare say the flag waving o'er us, 
Which floated in glory from Texas to Maine, 

Must fall, where our ancestors bore it before us, 
Writes his own fate on the roll of the slain. 
Then march along, etc. 



Look at it, traitors, and blush to behold it ! 

Quail as it flashes its stars in the sun ! 
Think you a hand in the nation will fold it, 

While there 's a hand that can level a gun ? 
Then march along, etc. 



Carry it onward till victory earn it 
The rights it once owned in the land of the 
free ; 
Then, in God's name, in our fury we '11 turn it 
Full on the treachery over the sea ! 
Then march along, etc. 

7 j 



146 MARCH ALONG. 

England shall feel what a vengeance the liar 
Stores in the bosom he aims to deceive ; 

England shall feel how God's truth can inspire ; 
England shall feel it, but only to grieve. 
Then march along, etc. 



Peace shall unite us again and forever, 

Though thousands lie cold in the graves of 
these wars ; 
Those who survive them shall never prove, 
never, 
False to the flag of the stripes and the stars ! 
Then march along, gay and strong, 
March to battle with a song ! 
March, march along ! 



THE FREE FLAG. 

Januaby 1, 1863. 

OHOLY ensign ! symbol fair 
And unpolluted, save by those 
Whose crimes have made themselves thy foes, 
Kiss with true love the taintless air ! 
Lay all thy starry clusters bare 

Beneath the heavenly stars ; secure 
That, as their own, thy light is pure ! 

No more at thee the world shall sneer ; 

No more beneath thy shade shall flash 

The terrors of the tyrant's lash ; 
Nor a whole race be bowed with fear, 
As widens out thy grand career ; 



148 THE FREE FLAG. 

Nor shalt thou shield from righteou^ scorn 
The guilt thy virtue has forsworn ! 



Where'er thy marshalled lines advance 
The shattered chain shall fall behind ; 
And in sad eyes, half blank, half blind, 

The light of liberty shall dance ; 

And the c imbruted countenance 

Shall warm with knowledge in the rays 
That break on thy regenerate days ! 



Now thou hast purpose, strong and high, 
Who doubts that right's assured success, 
If not from man, from God, shall bless 

Thy suffering fidelity 

With more than mortal victory, — 

With peace whose heart no more shall quake 
Whene'er a loosened chain may shake ? 



THE FREE FLAG. 149 

Ply on, fly on ! All hail to thee, 
Flag whose fair folds thy children's blood 
Has washed as in a running flood ! 

And may thy war-cry's burden be, 

Alike to all, " Be free, be free ! " 
Perish the wretch who 'd see thee wave 
Again above the shrinking slave ! 



SONG 

FOR THE LOYAL NATIONAL LEAGUE OF NEW YORK, 

ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE ATTACK ON 

FORT SUMTER, 

April 11,1 863. 

WHEN our banner went down, 
With its ancient renown, 
Betrayed and degraded by treason, 
Did they think, as it fell, 
What a passion would swell 
Our hearts when we asked them the reason ? 
0, then, rally, brave men, 
To the standard again, 
The flag that proclaims us a nation ! 
We will fight, on its part, 
While there 's life in a heart, 
And then trust to the next generation. 



SONG. 151 

Although causeless the blow 
That at Sumter laid low 
That flag, it was seed for the morrow ; 
And a thousand flags flew, 
For the one that fell true, 
As traitors have found to their sorrow. 
0, theti^ rally, brave men, 
To the standard again, 
The flag that proclaims us a nation ! 
We will fight, on its part, 
While there ? s life in a heart, 
And then trust to the next generation. 



'T was in flashes of flame 
It was brought to a shame 

Till then unrecorded in story ; 
But in flashes as bright 
It shall rise in our sight, 

And float over Sumter in glory ! 



152 SONG. 

0, then, rally, brave men, 

To the standard again, 
The flag that proclaims us a nation ! 

We will fight, on its part, 

While there 's life in a heart, 
And then trust to the next generation, 



A BATTLE HYMN. 

GOD, to Thee we humbly bow, 
With hand unarmed and naked brow ; 
Musket, lance, and sheathed sword 
At Thy feet we lay, O Lord ! 
Gone is all the soldier's boast 
In the valor of the host ; 
Kneeling here, we do our most. 

Of ourselves we nothing know : 
Thou, and Thou alone, canst show, 
By the favor of Thy hand, 
Who has drawn the guilty brand. 

7* 



154 A BATTLE HYMN. 

If our foemen have the right. 
Show Thy judgment in our sight 
Through the fortunes of the fight ! 



If our cause be pure and just, 
Nerve our courage with Thy trust : 
Scatter, in Thy bitter wrath, 
All who cross the nation's path : 
May the baffled traitors fly, 
As the vapors from the sky 
When Thy raging winds are high ! 

God of mercy, some must fall 
In Thy holy cause. Not all 
Hope to sing the victor's lay, 
When the sword is laid away. 
Brief will be the prayers then said ; 
Falling at Thy altar dead, 
Take the sacrifice instead ! 






A BATTLE HYMN. 155 

Now, God, once more we rise, 
Marching on beneath Thy eyes ; 
And we draw the sacred sword 
In Thy name and at Thy word. 
May our spirits clearly see 
Thee, through all that is to be, 
In defeat or victory ! 



HYMN 

FOR THE FOURTH OF JULY, 1863. 

LORD, the people of the land 
In Thy presence humbly stand 
On this day, when Thou didst free 
Men of old from tyranny, 
We, their children, bow to Thee. 
Help us, Lord, our only trust ! 
We are helpless, we are dust ! 

All our homes are red with blood ; 
Long our grief we have withstood ; 
Every lintel, each door-post, 



HYMN, 157 

Drips, at tidings from the host, 
With the blood of some one lost. 

Help us, Lord, our only trust ! 

We are helpless, we are dust ! 

Comfort, Lord, the grieving one 
Who bewails a stricken son ! 
Comfort, Lord, the weeping wife, 
In her long, long widowed life, 
Brooding o'er the fatal strife ! 

Help us, Lord, our only trust ! 

We are helpless, we are dust ! 

On our Nation's day of birth, 
Bless Thy own long-favored earth ! 
Urge the soldier with Thy will ! 
Aid their leaders with Thy skill ! 
Let them hear Thy trumpet thrill ! 

Help us, Lord, our only trust ! 

We are helpless, we are dust ! 



158 HYMN. 

Lord, we only fight for peace, 
Fight that freedom may increase. 
Give us back the peace of old, 
When the land with plenty rolled, 
And our banner awed the bold ! 

Help us, Lord, our only trust ! 

We are helpless, we are dust ! 

Lest we pray in thoughtless guilt, 
Shape the future as Thou wilt ! 
Purge our realm from hoary crime 
With Thy battles, dread, sublime, 
In Thy well-appointed time ! 

Help us, Lord, our only trust ! 

We are helpless, we are dust ! 

With one heart the Nation's cries 
From our choral lips arise : 
Thou didst point a noble way 
For our Fathers through the fray ; 



HYMN. 159 

Lead their children thus to-day ! 
Help us, Lord, our only trust ! 
We are helpless, we are dust ! 

In His name, who bravely bore 
Cross and crown begemmed with gore ; 
By His last immortal groan, 
Ere He mounted to His throne, 
Make our sacred cause Thy own ! 

Help us, Lord, our only trust ! 

We are helpless, we are dust ! 



|3 LOOD, blood ! The lines of every printed 
-'-' sheet 

Through their dark arteries reek with 

running gore ; 
At hearth, at board, before the household 

door, 
'T is the sole subject with which neighbors 
meet. 
Girls at the feast, and children in the street, 
Prattle of horrors ; flash their little store 
Of simple jests against the cannon's roar, 
As if mere slaughter kept existence sweet. 
0, heaven, I quail at the familiar way 

This fool, the world, disports his jingling 

cap ; 
Murdering or dying with one grin agap ! 



SONNET. 161 

Our very Love comes draggled from the fray, 
Smiling at victory, scowling at mishap, 
With gory Death companioned and at 
play. 



OH ! craven, craven ! while my brothers 
fall, 
Like grass before the mower, in the fight, 
I, easy vassal to my own delight, 
Am bound with flowers, a far too willing 
thrall. 
Day after day along the streets I crawl, 

Shamed in my manhood, reddening at the 

sight 
Of every soldier who upholds the right 
With no more motive than his country's 
call. 
I love thee more than honor ; ay, above 

That simple duty, conscience-plain and 

clear 
To dullest minds, whose summons all men 
hear. 






SONNET. 163 

Yet as I blush and loiter, who should move 
In the grand marches, I cannot but fear 
That thou wilt scorn me for my very love# 



B 



RAVE comrade, answer ! When you 

joined the war, 
What left you ? " Wife and children, 
wealth and friends, 
f A storied home whose ancient roof-tree 

bends 

Above such thoughts as love tells o'er and 

o'er." 

Had you no pang or struggle ? " Yes ; I bore 

Such pain on parting as at hell's gate rends 

The entering soul, when from its grasp 

ascends 
The last faint virtue which on earth it 
wore." 
You loved your home, your kindred, children, 
wife ; 






SONNET. 165 

You loathed yet plunged into war's bloody 

whirl ! — 
What urged you ? " Duty ! Something 

more than life. 
That which made Abraham bare the priestly 

knife, 
And Isaac kneel, or that young Hebrew 

girl 
Who sought her father coming from the 

strife." 



GRANT. 

AS Moses stood upon the flaming hill, 
With all the people gathered at his feet, 
Waiting in Sinai's valley, there to meet 
The awful bearer of Jehovah's will ; 
So, Grant, thou stand'st, amidst the trumpets 
shrill, - 
And the wild fiery storms that flash and 

beat 
In iron thunder and in leaden sleet, 
Topmost of all, and most exposed to ill. 
0, stand thou firm, great leader of our race, 
Hope of our future, till the times grow 

bland, 
And into ashes drops war's dying brand : 



GRANT. 167 

Then let us see thee, with benignant grace, 
Descend thy height, God's glory on thy 

face, 
And the law's tables safe within thy hand ! 



DIRGE FOR A SOLDIER. 

« 

IN MEMORY OF GENERAL PHILIP KEARNY. 
Killed Septembeb I, 1862. 

GLOSE his eyes ; his work is done ! 
What to him is friend or foeman, 
Kise of moon, or set of sun, 

Hand of man, or kiss of woman ? 
Lay him low, lay him low, 
In the clover or the snow ! 
What cares he ? he cannot know : 
Lay him low ! 

As man may, he fought his fight, 
Proved his truth by his endeavor ; 



DIRGE FOR A SOLDIER. 169 

Let him sleep in solemn night, . 
Sleep forever and forever. 
Lay him low, lay him low, 
In the clover or the snow ! 
What cares he ? he cannot know : 
Lay him low ! 

Fold him in his country's stars, 

Roll the drum and fire the volley ! 
What to him are all our wars, 
What but death bemocking folly ? 
Lay him low, lay him low, 
In the clover or the snow ! 
What cares he ? he cannot know : 
Lay him low ! 

Leave him to God's watching eye, 

Trust him to the hand that made him. 

Mortal love weeps idly by : 

God alone has power to aid him. 



170 DIRGE FOR A SOLDIER. 

Lay him low, lay him low,' 
In the clover or the snow ! 
What cares he ? he cannot know 
Lay him low ! 






Miscellaneous Poems. 



PRINCE ADEB. 

IN Sana, 0, in Sana, God, the Lord, 
Was very kind and merciful to me ! 
Forth from the Desert in my rags I came, 
Weary and sore of foot. I saw the spires 
And swelling bubbles of the golden domes 
Eise through the trees of Sana, and my heart 
Grew great within me with the strength of God ; 
And I cried out, "Now shall I right myself, — 
I, Adeb the despised, — for God is just ! " 
There he who wronged my father dwelt in 

peace, — 
My warlike father, who, when gray hairs crept 
Around his forehead, as on Lebanon 
The whitening snows of winter, was betrayed 
To the sly Imam, and his tented wealth 



174 PRINCE ADEB. 

Swept from him, 'twixt the roosting of the cock 
And his first crowing, — in a single night : 
And I, poor Adeb, sole of all my race, 
Smeared with my father's and my kinsmen's 

blood, 
Pled through the Desert, till one day a tribe 
Of hungry Bedouins found me in the sand, 
Half mad with famine, and they took me up, 
And made a slave of me, — of me, a prince ! 
All was fulfilled at last. I fled from them, 
In rags and sorrow. Nothing but my heart, 
Like a strong swimmer, bore me up against 
The howling sea of my adversity. 
At length o'er Sana, in the act to swoop, 
I stood like a young eagle on a crag. 
The traveller passed me with suspicious fear : 
I asked for nothing ; I was not a thief. 
The lean dogs snuffed around me : my lank 

bones, 
Fed on the berries and the crusted pools, 



PRINCE ADEB. 175 

Were a scant morsel. Once, a brown-skinned 

girl 
Called me a little from the common path, 
And gave me figs and barley in a bag. 
I paid her with a kiss, with nothing more, 
And she looked glad ; for I was beautiful, 
And virgin as a fountain, and as cold. 
I stretched her bounty, pecking like a bird, 
Her figs and barley, till my strength returned. 
So when rich Sana lay beneath my eyes, 
My foot was as the leopard's, and my hand 
As heavy as the lion's brandished paw ; 
And underneath my burnished skin the veins 
And stretching muscles played, at every step, 
In wondrous motion. I was very strong. 
I looked upon my body, as a bird 
That bills his feathers ere he takes to flight, — 
I, watching over Sana. Then I prayed ; 
And on a soft stone, wetted in the brook, 
Ground my long knife ; and then I prayed 

again. 



176 PRINCE ADEB. 

God heard my voice, preparing all for me, 
As, softly stepping down the hills, I saw 
The Imam's summer-palace all ablaze 
In the last flash of sunset. Every fount 
Was spouting fire, and all the orange-trees 
Bore blazing coals, and from the marble walls 
And gilded spires and columns, strangely 

wrought, 
Glared the red light, until my eyes were pained 
With the fierce splendor. Till the night grew 

thick, 
I lay within the bushes, next the door, 
Still as a serpent, as invisible. 
The guard hung round the portal. Man by 

man 
They dropped away, save one lone sentinel, 
And on his eyes God's finger lightly fell ; 
He slept half standing. Like a summer wind 
That threads the grove, yet never turns a leaf, 
I stole from shadow unto shadow forth ; 



PRINCE ADEB. 177 

Crossed all the marble court-yard, swung the 

door, 
Like a soft gust, a little way ajar, — 
My body's narrow width, no more, — and stood 
Beneath the cresset in the painted hall. 
I marvelled at the riches of my foe ; 
I marvelled at God's ways with wicked men. 
Then I reached forth, and took God's waiting 

hand : 
And so He led me over mossy floors, 
Flowered with the silken summer of Shiraz, 
Straight to the Imam's chamber. At the door 
Stretched a brawn eunuch, blacker than my 

eyes: 
His woolly head lay like the Kaba-stone 
In Mecca's mosque, as silent and as huge. 
I stepped across it, with my pointed knife 
Just missing a full vein along his neck, 
And, pushing by the curtains, there I was — 
I, Adeb the despised — upon the spot 

8* L 



178 PRINCE ADEB. 

That, next to heaven, I longed for most of all. 
I could have shouted for the joy in me. 
Fierce pangs and flashes of bewildering light 
Leaped through my brain and danced before 

my eyes. 
So loud my heart beat, that I feared its sound 
Would wake the sleeper ; and the bubbling 

blood 
Choked in my throat, till, weaker than a child, 
I reeled against a column, and there hung 
In a blind stupor. Then I prayed again ; 
And, sense by sense, I was made whole once 

more. 
I touched myself; I was the same ; I knew 
Myself to be lone Adeb, young and strong, 
With nothing but a stride of empty air 
Between me and God's justice. In a sleep, 
Thick with the fumes of the accursed grape, 
Sprawled the false Imam. On his shaggy 

breast, 



PRINCE ADEB. 179 

Like a white lily heaving on the tide 
Of some foul stream, the fairest woman slept 
These rovfrig eyes have ever looked upon. 
Almost a child, her bosom barely showed 
The change beyond her girlhood. All her 

charms. 
Were budding, but half opened ; for I saw 
Not only beauty wondrous in itself, 
But possibility of more to be 
In the full process of her blooming days. 
I gazed upon her, and my heart grew soft, 
As a parched pasture with the dew of heaven. 
While thus I gazed she smiled, and slowly raised 
The long curve of her lashes ; and we looked 
Each upon each in wonder, not alarm, — 
Not eye to eye, but soul to soul, we held 
Each other for a moment. All her life 
Seemed centred in the circle of her eyes. 
She stirred no limb ; her long-drawn, equal 

breath 



180 PRINCE ADEB. 

Swelled out and ebbed away beneath her breast, 
In calm unbroken. Not a sign of fear 
Touched the faint color on her oval fcheek, 
Or pinched the arches of her tender mouth. 
She took me for a vision, and she lay 
With her sleep's smile unaltered, as in doubt 
Whether real life had stolen into her dreams, 
Or dreaming stretched into her outer life. 
I was not graceless to a woman's eyes. 
The girls of Damar paused to see me pass, 
I walking in my rags, yet beautiful. 
One maiden said, " He has a prince's air ! " 
I am a prince ; the air was all my own. 
So thought the lily on the Imam's breast ; 
And lightly as a summer mist, that lifts 
Before the morning, so she floated up, 
Without a sound or rustle of a robe, 
From her coarse pillow, and before me stood 
With asking eyes. The Imam never moved. 
A stride and blow were all my need, and they 



PRINCE ADEB. 181 

Were wholly in my power. I took her hand, 
I held a warning finger to my lips, 
And whispered in her small, expectant ear, 
" Adeb, the son of Akem ! " She replied 
In a low murmur, whose bewildering sound 
Almost lulled wakeful me to sleep, and sealed 
The sleeper's lids in tenfold slumber, " Prince, 
Lord of the Imam's life and of my heart, 
Take all thou seest, — it is thy right, I know, — 
But spare the Imam for thy own soul's sake ! " 
Then I arrayed me in a robe of state, 
Shining with gold and jewels ; and I bound 
In my long turban gems that might have 

bought 
The lands 'twixt Babelmandeb and Sahan. 
I girt about me, with a blazing belt, 
A scimitar o'er which the sweating smiths 
In far Damascus hammered for long years, 
Whose hilt and scabbard shot a trembling light 
From diamonds and rubies. And she smiled, 



182 PRINCE ADEB. 

As piece by piece I put the treasures on, 
To see me look so fair, — in pride she smiled. 
I hung long purses at my side. I scooped, 
From off a table, figs and dates and rice, 
And bound them to my girdle in a sack. 
Then over all I flung a snowy cloak, 
And beckoned to the maiden. So she stole 
Forth like my shadow, past the sleeping wolf 
Who wronged my father, o'er the woolly head 
Of the swart eunuch, down the painted court, 
And by the sentinel who standing slept. 
Strongly against the portal, through my rags, — 
My old base rags, — and through the maiden's 

veil, 
I pressed my knife, — upon the wooden hilt 
Was " Adeb, son of Akem," carved by me 
In my long slavehood, — as a passing sign 
To wait the Imam's waking. Shadows cast 
From two high-sailing clouds upon the sand 
Passed not more noiseless than we two, as one, 






PRINCE ADEB. 183 

Glided beneath the moonlight, till I smelt 
The fragrance of the stables. As I slid 
The wide floors open, with a sudden bound 
Uprose the startled horses ; but they stood 
Still as the man who in a foreign land 
Hears his strange language, when my Desert call, 
As low and plaintive as the nested dove's, 
Pell on their listening ears. From stall to stall, 
Feeling the horses with my groping hands, 
I crept in darkness ; and at length I came 
Upon two sister mares whose rounded sides, 
Fine muzzles, and small heads, and pointed 

ears, 
And foreheads spreading 'twixt their eyelids 

wide, 
Long slender tails, thin manes, and coats of silk, 
Told me, that, of the hundred steeds there 

stalled, 
My hand was on the treasures. O'er and o'er 
I felt their bony joints, and down their legs 



184 PRINCE ADEB. 

To the cool hoofs ; — no blemish anywhere : 
These I led forth and saddled. Upon one 
I set the lily, gathered now for me, * 
My own, henceforth, forever. So we rode 
Across the grass, beside the stony path, 
Until we gained the highway that is lost, 
Leading from Sana, in the eastern sands : 
When, with a cry that both the Desert-born 
Knew without hint from whip or goading spur, 
We dashed into a gallop. Far behind 
In sparks and smoke the dusty highway rose ; 
And ever on the maiden's face I saw, 
When the moon flashed upon it, the strange 

smile 
It wore on waking. Once I kissed her mouth, 
When she grew weary, and her strength re- 
turned. 
All through the night we scoured between the 

hills : 
The moon went down behind us, and the stars 






PRINCE ADEB. 185 

Dropped after her ; but long before 1 saw 
A planet blazing straight against our eyes, 
The road had softened, and the shadowy hills 
Had flattened out, and I could hear the hiss 
Of sand spurned backward by the flying 

mares. — 
Glory to God ! I was at home again ! 
The sun rose on us ; far and near I saw 
The level Desert ; sky met sand all round. 
We paused at mid-day by a palm-crowned well, 
And ate and slumbered. Somewhat, too, was 

said: 
• The words have slipped my memory. That 

same eve 
We rode sedately through aHamoum camp,— 
I, Adeb, prince amongst them, and my bride. 
And ever since amongst them I have ridden, 
A head and shoulders taller than the best ; 
And ever since my days have been of gold, 
My nights have been of silver, — God is just ! 



ABON'S CHARITY. 

POOR, very poor had Abon Hassen grown ; 
Of all the wealth his fathers called their 

own 
To him remained two sequins. These he gave 
To a low wretch, a miserable knave ; 
As full of sin and falsehood as the brain 
Of the big-eared and red-faced rogue, whose 

gain 
Grew from long tables, heaped with bills and 

gold, 
Beneath whose shade the loathsome beggar 

rolled, 
And whined for alms, to every passer-by, 
In Allah's name. Young Abon's tender eye 



ABON'S CHARITY. 187 

Shone, like the morning sun, upon the place 
Where lay the beggar ; and a regal grace 
Crowned his fair forehead, as he quickly cast 
His sequins down, and, blushing, onward passed, 
With " Take them, then, in Allah's holy name : 
Thy greater need, poor soul, puts mine to 

shame ! " 
The youth passed quickly ; but the lying tongue 
Of the vile wretch pursued, and round him rung 
The old, stale blessings that for years had paid 
Such simple victims, glib words of his trade ; 
As bare of meaning, in their prayers and praise, 
As to the parrot is the parrot's phrase. 
But Abon paused, as if the seventh heaven 
Before his eyes its ivory gates had riven ; 
Paused with a strange, sweet warmth about his 

heart, 
With music in his ears, and far apart 
From this rough world one moment he was 

caught, 



188 AEON'S CHARITY. 

Beyond the bounds of sense or farthest thought, 

Into the depths of an ecstatic trance ; 

And there he reeled till rapture verged on pain. 

Then slid he gently from that eminence ; 

And Abon whispered, as he woke again, 

" Surely the hand of Allah touched me then ! " 

Out of the distance suddenly arose 
A cry of terror ; then the rapid blows 
Of flying hoofs, along the stony way, 
Broke on his ears. The crowd, in pale dismay, 
Pressed back against the houses, leaving clear 
The middle street ; down which, in mad career, 
A furious horse, whose meteor mane and tail 
Blew straight behind him, on the roaring gale 
Of his own speed, rushed headlong. And there 

clung 
To the wild steed a form that toppling swung 
Hither and thither in his giddy seat, 
Helpless and failing. An old man, more meet 



AEON'S CHARITY. 189 

For propping cushions on the soft divan, 
Than that fierce throne, was he. No venturous 

man, 
Of all the throng, essayed to stop the course 
Of the swift steed. Now Abon knew a horse 
As well as one may know his own right hand. 
No breed or cross betwixt the sea and sand, 
Syrian or Arab, but young Abon knew ; 
And all their points of difference could view 
In one quick glance. So Abon, without heed 
Or thought of danger, towards the maddened 

steed 
Sprang, as the leopard bounds, and caught the 

bit. 
Borne from his feet an instant, he alit 
With his firm hand still on the golden shank 
Of the long curb ; till on his haunches sank 
The astonished horse, wide-eyed, subdued to 

naught. 
Then from the saddle agile Abon caught 



190 ABON'S CHARITY. 

A mass of silks and jewels, falling prone 

On his strong breast ; and he who filled the 

throne 
Of fair Damascus, without scratch or harm, 
Lay safely panting upon Abon's arm. 

When Abon Hassen, whom men call "the 

good," 
Years after, the Pasha, in counsel stood 
With holy men before the mosque he raised 
To hold his master's bones ; and Osman praised 
The glories of the temple ; Abon told 
The story of the beggar and the gold, 
The trance, the flying horse ; and how he 

stepped, 
Watching the kingdom while his master slept, 
Through actions spotless in the people's sight, 
By slow advances to his princely height ; — 
Said Osman, holiest of the holy men, 
" Surely the hand of Allah touched thee then ! 



>? 



IDLENESS. 

IF I do no more than this, 
I do something grand, I wis. 
If I do no more than slumber 
Where these locust-blossoms cumber 
The young grass, while in and out 
Voyage the humming bees about ; 
And the fields of new-turned land, 
In long brown waves on every hand, 
Mix their strong life-giving smell 
With the violets of the dell, 
Till I, half drunk with country gladness, 
Forget the moody city-sadness ; — 

If I do no more than gaze, 
Through the flimsy spring-tide haze, 



192 IDLENESS. 

Far into the sapphire deeps, 

Where white doud after white cloud creeps ; 

Or watch the triumph of the sun, 

When his western stand is won, 

And crimson stain and golden bar 

Are drawn across the evening-star ; 

And slowly broaden on my sight 

The glories of the deeper night, 

Till I, overtaken with boding sorrow, 

Shrink from inevitable to-morrow ; — 



If I do no more than look 
Into that dark and awful book 
Which, like a prophet's fatal scroll, 
Lies open in my deathless soul ; 
Whose pictured joy and pictured woe 
Mean more than any man may know ; 
Close secret, hidden in death and birth, 
Keflex and prophecy of earth ; 



IDLENESS. 193 

With earth's sweet sounds and scented blooms, 

Its splendors and its solemn glooms, 

All things the senses care about, 

As clear within us as without ; 

As if from us creation grew 

In some strange way, we one time knew : — 

If I do no more than this, 

I do something grand, I wis. 



WINTER WINDS. 

O WINTER winds, your mournful roar 
Is burden of the song I sing ; 
An everlasting dirge ye pour, 
A restless pain that beats the door 
Of heaven with its wounded wing. 

Grief has no faith ; the common woe 
That sees a future hope unfold, 

Draws comfort thence ; but as ye blow, 

O winter winds, a grief I know 
That cannot, would not be consoled. 

Ye wail o'er earth left desolate, 
O'er beauty stricken with decay ; 



WINTER WINDS. 195 

Ye howl behind the path of fate, 
Deaf to the voice that bids you wait, 
Ye cry for what has passed away. 

And I who stand with drooping eyes, 

What heart have I to rise and greet 
The beckoning hopes, that dimly rise, 
While all I loved and trusted lies 
In ashes at my faltering feet ? 

winter winds, add moan to moan ! 

For though ye give me no relief, 
Ye sound a fitting undertone, 
A dreary note whose heavy drone 

Keeps measure with my shriller grief. 



ELISHA KENT KANE. 

February 27, 1857. 

O MOTHER Earth, thy task is done 
With him who slumbers here below ; 
From thy cold Arctic brow he won 
A glory purer than thy snow. 

Thy warmer bosom gently nursed 

The dying hero ; for his eye 
The tropic Spring's full splendors burst, — 

" In vain ! " a thousand voices cry. 

" In vain, in vain ! " The poet's art 
Forsook me when the people cried ; 

Naught but the grief that fills my heart, 
And memories of my friend, abide. 



ELISHA KENT KANE. 197 

We parted in the midnight street, 

Beneath a cold autumnal rain ; 
He wrung my hand, he stayed my feet 

With "Friend, we shall not meet again." 

I laughed ; I would not then believe ; 

He smiled ; he left me ; all was o'er. 
How much for my poor laugh I 'd give ! — 

How much to see him smile once more ! 



I know my lay bemeans the dead, 
That sorrow is an humble thing, 

That I should sing his praise instead, 
And strike it on a higher string. 

Let stronger minstrels raise their lay, 
And follow where his fame has flown ; 

To the whole world belongs his praise, 
His friendship was to me alone. 



198 ELISHA KENT KANE. 

So close against my heart he lay, 
That I should make his glory dim 

And hear a bashful whisper say, 
" I praise myself in praising him. 



>> 



gentle mother, following nigh 
His long, long funeral march, resign 

To me the right to lift this cry, 
And part the sorrow that is thine. 

O father, mourning by his bier, 
Forgive this song of little worth ! 

My eloquence is but a tear, 
I cannot, would not rise from earth. 

stricken brothers, broken band, — 
The link that held the jewel lost, — 

1 pray you give me leave to stand 
Amid you, from the sorrowing host. 



ELISHA KENT KANE. 199 

We '11 give his honors to the world, 
We '11 hark for echoes from afar ; 

Where'er our country's flag 's unfurled 
His name shall shine in every star. 

We feel no fear that time shall keep 
Our hero's memory. Let us move 

A little from the world to weep, 
And for our portion take his love. 



DIRGE. 

A. W. November 20, 1863. 

ANNIE 'S dead, Annie 's dead ! 
In that sentence all is said. 
Lily form and rosy head, 
Still and cold, yet half divine ; 
Though the lights no longer shine 
Whence her gentle soul looked through 
Its clear essence, calmly true : 
Ah ! the solemn inward view 
Those inverted eyeballs cast, 
Ere her spirit heavenward passed ! 

e 

Annie 's dead ! 

Annie 's dead, Annie 's dead ! 
Sister angels, overhead, 
Have your greeting hands outspread ; 



DIRGE. 201 



Let a welcome cry be given, 
As she treads the skirts of heaven ; 
For a soul from earth more free, 
More of your own purity, 
Never joined your company. 
Match her ye of heavenly mould, 
Even thus, thus mortal cold ! 
Annie *s dead ! 

Annie 's dead, Annie 's dead ! 
Why should this be oversaid ? 
Why should I abase my head ? — 
I who loved her from afar, 
As the dreamer may the star ; 
I who bowed my humble eye, 
Scarcely bold enough to sigh, 
When she chanced to pass me by ; 
Trembling lest a word might stir 
The high calm that reigned in her. 
Annie 's dead ! 



202 DIRGE. 

Annie ? s dead, Annie 's dead ! 
But a gleam of light hath sped 
Through death's shadow close and dread ; 
For wherever such as thou 
Wanderest, must be sunshine now. 
Dweller of some aery isle, 
Floating up to God the while, 
If I read aright that smile ; 
Hear aright my heart that saith, 
" Shall I fall in love with death ? " 
Annie 's dead ! 



THE END. 



Cambridge : Stereotyped and Printed by Welch, Bigelow, & Co.